Recently, I was in the elections – I voted for the president of my country, and as a person who is familiar with the blockchain technology, I would like to dream a little about how distributed ledger technology (DLT) can make the election process more transparent and efficient.
If for you not familiar with the term Blockchain, then before studying read this article introductory “What is blockchain technology in simple words and how it works”.
Problems in the election:
- no transparency
- results can be falsified using bulletin spoofing
- pending election results for the several day
7 ideas how technology blockchain can improve the voting process in the elections
1. For each voter – an individual voting tool
Each resident of the country is issued a private key, which he can receive after passing the identification in the responsible state body (it can be either a passport office or a post office). With the help of online courses and live demonstrations, he will be shown simple actions on how to use it to vote and will also issue a memo on a single A4 sheet.
Also, smartphone owners can download a special mobile voting application – this is essentially a cryptocurrency wallet, where instead of sending bitcoins, it will send its vote in digital form, signing with its unique cryptographic key. This can be done either from a smartphone via QR-code technology by scanning it in the ballot directly at the polling station, or from a push-button phone that has Java support (for example, Nokia 3310).
One example of a cryptocurrency wallet implementation where transactions are confirmed via SMS is Cointext.io, which announced this feature in early December 2018. And in some public blockchains there is a built-in voting function (for example, the voting module in the NEM blockchain)
Those who are abroad can get your wallet for voting by contacting the consulate and passing identification.
2. The transparency of the voting process and the online results.
A person comes to the polling station (not necessarily at the place of residence), passes identification (shows passport / national id / driver license) and scans the QR code in front of the QR code opposite the photo of his candidate, signing a transaction with a voice or sending sms to a special number (if he does not have a smartphone , and the usual old mobile phone).
After that, his voice transaction will be added to the general chain of blocks (and the person’s voice will be counted), the voter will receive a unique identifier by which he will be able to see that his vote is really counted (the unique identifier is the transaction hash to send his vote, which can be seen in explorer)
The results of all those who voted through the blockchain can be tracked in real time. You don’t need to count anything by hand – each vote is a unique transaction that falls into a common block chain and is automatically calculated.
Those who do not have a phone will be able to vote in the old manner, by ticking the ballot, their votes will be counted manually at night after the day of elections.
3. Real-time data backup and protection against double spending operations.
To protect against network blockchain hacking (attack 50% + 1) directly during voting, and later on when counting votes, a data snapshot (block hash function) is placed for a certain period of time (for example, once per minute or once per hour) in a public blockchain registry for example, Bitcoin or Ethereum (this operation is called anchoring).
Thus, if at least one digit as a result of the past is replaced, the whole hash function of the block in the chain will change and this will be immediately apparent.
You can also organize additional protection in case of a failure in the blockchain network (for example, if at some point the mobile Internet in the country stops working) To do this, it is necessary with a specified frequency (for example, 1 time per minute) to send information via the wired Internet from the blockchain registry to print to a printer.
Moreover, such printers may be located in several places (and not necessarily in one country). In the event of a failure in the blockchain network, the data at the time of the failure will remain on paper.
How to protect a fake issue of ballots / votes.
The number of printed paper ballots (as well as the number of issued cryptographic polling cards) must at any time correspond to the formula: Total ballots / wallets = people voted + people did not come to the polls
You cannot send a transaction from one wallet twice, because after sending the vote, the citizen’s wallet is added to the list of voters and transactions that are sent again from such wallets are no longer counted.
Alternatively, you can issue N unique token votes, and distribute one token to each citizen, so each citizen can send only one token once during the voting)
4. Anonymity of votes
Using the Zero-Knowledge Proof technology (zero-knowledge protocol), you can hide the name of the voter in order to protect him from harassment by the authorities. But at the same time be sure that the vote came from a person who had the right to vote.
5. Electoral promises of candidates are recorded.
In the mobile application, which anyone can download for themselves, there is a profile of each candidate with his full biography and achievements, his election program with all the promises will be saved there.
Anyone who has downloaded this application sees it all in one place.
6.Road map of president / prime minister
The President / Prime Minister, upon assuming office, should publish a roadmap for the next 2-3 months with the first steps he will take. This plan should not look too abstruse so that every citizen can understand it (even the one who did not finish high school).
This program can be adjusted once a certain period (for example, once a month). The log with changes is saved and is public.
The administration of the president for the month writes a report on the work done.
7. Evaluation of the implementation of the election program and the rating of the candidate from the government.
Users at the end of the period (for example, a quarter or half-year) can estimate in% how much in their opinion the promises made to them were realized.
When it is time for a new election, the rating of a candidate by people very clearly reflects what he did and what is not from the promise before the election.
How to solve Problem: How to prove that a person votes from his phone “from the sofa” and does it without coercion?
This problem is not a problem that the blockchain can solve. After all, even in the usual paper system, if a person was bribed and he went to vote for whom he was told, no one will ever know about it, if the person who voted is not recognized.
It is theoretically possible to manipulate voices by taking phones from old women and poisoning sms for left-wing candidates, but for this you can make restrictions, for example:
- So that those who live at the place of registration can vote from the phone only by coming to the polling station (the incentive to come and vote from the phone is to make the election process more transparent and protect the result from falsification).
- Those who are now in other countries can vote only if their relative confirms their sending a vote (confirmation of a multi-signature transaction is essentially sending a second SMS from the second number of the guarantor of honesty).
The blockchain technology makes the voting process more transparent and protected from fraud. But for the introduction of this technology takes time, and a great desire on the part of the ruling authorities.
Idea # 2:
It is not necessary to immediately to make large investments in this technology and drastically change the election process, you can start step by step – for example, to start, write the election results on the blockchain in real time, and at the next stage, allow people to test online voting from the phone.
People are very hard to make changes in the usual course of things, so most likely only a small part of the population will use the voting on the blockchain, and the older population should be given the choice to vote as they are used to.
What to read about blockchain and elections:
P.S. This material is written by the author for whom English is not the native language. If you want to help improve it – write to firstname.lastname@example.org