Mailinglist Archive: heroes (34 mails)

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Re: [heroes] Re: [election-officials] Helios voting platform
Hi Ben,

Am Montag, 11. Februar 2019, 22:54:48 CET schrieb Ben Cotton:
I'm looking at alternatives for replacing Fedora's home-grown
elections app with something I don't need to get our infra team to
work on. I asked the election officials and they suggested I ask
here. How well does Helios work for you? Did you evaluate other

I helped with the Helios setup last year, so I can at least answer some
of your questions ;-)

Before using Helios, we used polls in Elgg (on,
but it started to do funny things[tm] that made it unusable and
untrustable (no idea why exactly it broke, but we got reports of
candidates listed twice etc.).
I also remember that because of that breakage, surveymonkey was used for
an election, and a quick home-grown solution for another one.

I wasn't involved in choosing Helios, and don't know if other
alternatives were considered and/or tested. (Maybe Theo knows more and
can answer that part?)

Regarding Helios: It has a few rough edges (for example celeryd crashes
if it looses its database connection [1]), but once you mastered these
things (hint: auto-restart celeryd in its .service file) Helios just
works :-) and has options for everything you'll need in an election.

The documentation is not perfect, but it's good enough to get Helios up
and running, and to find out how to setup and run an election.

I managed to integrate the admin / election creator login with our login
proxy (not really hard once you understand what you need to do), but
voters (which you create by importing a CSV file) get a separate
username and password that is only valid for one election.

One important thing is that Helios stores all the votes encrypted (AFAIK
they get encrypted in the browser before being submitted) and allows
each voter to verify that his/her vote was stored and later counted

To sum it up: I can recommend Helios.
Maybe there's another solution out there that is even better, but I
never searched for it - and given how good Helios works for us,
I probably won't do such a search ;-)

If you are interested in testing Helios, I can offer to
- give you a test account so that you can setup a test election (after
the board election is finished - I won't touch the server until then)
- send you a "manual" with everything you need to know about creating
and running an election
- send you our salt code that includes everything you need to setup
Helios (well, except the database details ;-)
- send you a VM with openSUSE Leap 42.3 [2] and Helios running (auto-
created by our salt code - PostgreSQL server not included, that would
be another VM)
- actually, we could even host the Fedora elections, so if you aren't
uncomfortable with sending the Fedora members to, that might be the easiest way for you ;-)


Christian Boltz

[1] which reminds me that I should re-test that with the latest version,
and report it as a bug if it still happens.

[2] updating to Leap 15 is on my TODO list, but - after the board
election is finished, and after finishing some other things on my
TODO list
Anyway, what does our mission statement say?
"Have a lot of fun..."
[> Per Jessen and Greg KH in opensuse-factory]

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