Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy


An authentication should verify the genuineness of something. Therefore, authentication describes not only the process but also the result of the verification.
Often authentication is used to verify identities. Proving the identity on the internet is an often experienced authentication problem, which is solved through a multi-step authentication procedure. 

Authentication in elections 

When voting via ballot box, the polling card or voter notification card is not sufficient for authentication. It is necessary to bring an official document like passport, ID or drivers license to the polling station

Authentication in online elections 

Authentication in online voting systems makes sure that only eligible voters listed in the electoral roll can vote. A usual procedure is using PIN/TAN: the voter logs in with their personal voter-ID (PIN) and a once only valid password (TAN). The online voting system compares the data with the electoral roll and the validator.
This is to guarantee that only eligible voters can cast their vote.

Read more about secure authentication in online elections 

Authentication features 

The voter-ID should have a clear personal feature, like an employee, student or member number or the date of birth. The unique voter password is generated by the POLYAS voting system and send to voters via email. The security level can be upgraded by using a separate way of communication, e.g. sending the password via SMS to a mobile. Even an authentication with an electronic ID is possible with online elections. 


See also: Polling card, polling place, data protection

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