The Ministry of Electronic Government is developing a comprehensive system for remote electronic voting, Minister Bozhidar Bozhanov announced on BNT. An opinion on it is expected from the Central Election Commission (CEC).
“It will not be used immediately, it can just be test-piloted so that we have a long enough period of experiments and tests. The goal is to implement it in a real environment, to be sure of it. But it will not be implemented for the next elections – it would be too soon” – commented Bozhanov.
Remote e-voting can be combined with both machine and paper voting and does not interfere with any of the other types. Prior to the possible implementation of the system, all necessary measures will be taken for its security.
“Hacking attacks in remote voting are the lesser problem – there are enough cryptographic systems that guarantee protection from them. It’s harder to ensure that people who vote don’t have a virus on their own computer to change their vote. But that’s why measures will be taken – such as the opportunity to check who you voted for or even change your vote on election day if necessary. There is nothing one hundred percent in cybersecurity, but it is secure enough,” he added.
Regarding the request of the Bulgarian Socialist Party for the return of the paper vote, Bozhanov commented that a study is forthcoming, which will show whether the machines really hinder a certain group of voters or not. His personal opinion is that the machine vote works and we should not go back to paper ballots.
By the end of the year, we will have electronic access to electronic services of the administration without an electronic signature. This will be possible with the launch of a national application for mobile identification, said Minister Bozhanov. “Our approach is borrowed from Estonia. It ensures the security of our personal data, as the access key will be divided between the device on which the application will be installed and the server part”, he explained.
Another of his ideas – putting a chip in ID cards – will be postponed due to problems with chip supplies around the world at the moment.
Regarding the introduced legal changes, which will abolish the blue ticket for drivers, and the fines will be served and paid online, the Minister clarified that the points in the ticket remain, but not on paper. They will be stored and processed in the system of the Ministry of Interior. In case the driver wants to appeal the penalties imposed on him, this will be done as before. Deputies are about to vote on the bill amending the Road Traffic Act.
These changes do not require serious software upgrades, because these systems still exist and work, but are used in a different way, said Bozhanov.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the authorities have registered an increase in research on the possibility of a breach in the systems, which is the first stage of a hacker attack. “We receive notifications for every leaked password of a civil servant on the dark internet. We have blocked some of the most obvious ports,” said Minister Bozhanov, explaining that in the past there were cases of leaked passwords of civil servants, which was due to the often bad practice to use the business e-mail address and password to register on other sites – for example, for recipes, dating, etc.