The online voting system POLYAS has been independent since 2012 and branched off into POLYAS GmbH. POLYAS is an online voting system developed by Micromata, and is able to look back on a sixteen-year success story. It all began in 1996 with the trilingual youth election in Finland. The product has since continued to be constantly developed and successfully implemented many times.
Among POLYAS’ satisfied customers are the Initiative D21, the Gesellschaft für Informatik e. V., the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG and Swiss Life AG. Then there are the myriad associations, societies, foundations and companies. Executive boards, committees or expert councils are frequently elected. A total of 900,000 digital ballots have been cast to date.
“The success story of POLYAS is largely attributed to the security and scalability of the system,” says Manuel Kripp, CEO of the new POLYAS GmbH, who manages the young company together with Gerald Wolff. “While there are still heated discussions on the pros and cons of electronic voting methods in specialist circles, so far POLYAS has been subjected to numerous scientific code reviews and penetration tests by independent institutions and has passed each time with a grade of ‘very good'”.
“From a technological perspective, POLYAS’ high degree of security consists of an interplay of various technical and organisational data protection measures,” says Gerald Wolff, “such as the spatial separation of the electoral register and the ballot box, or the usage of different cryptographic procedures such as asymmetrical encryption, or the digital signature.” However, should there be any attempted manipulation during an ongoing election, the compromise of the election procedure is immediately discovered thanks to so-called SHA check sums. All of this ensures that elections and votes with POLYAS always adhere to the democratic voting fundamentals of community, freedom, equality and confidentiality.
Kai Reinhard views the branching off of POLYAS with great hope. He personally helped develop the system and managed it administratively for years. “I’m happy that we not only pioneered a field with POLYAS, but actually programmed a truly successful product. I am certain that online voting will continue to be met with ever greater acceptance and that POLYAS has a bright future ahead of it. The certification of POLYAS by the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) will validate us in our mission.” Micromata and POLYAS blazed the path to digital elections and voting together. The close cooperation in development and technical implementation ensures that the technical competence built up so far will continue to grow and thrive in the future.