Voting is a serious and crucial event in any country that holds elections. The voting process allows its citizens to decide everything from amendments to leaders. Although we have been in the digital age for some time now, paper ballots are still the most common way voting is done. There have already been some online voting pilot projects rising in the U.S. and abroad, but security experts are worried that any internet-based election system is vulnerable to attacks regardless of the infrastructure. But getting people and military personal to the polls to vote has been an ongoing problem for decades, and with most of the world in lockdown, it might be a good time to take a closer look at blockchain voting.
How Does It Work
With a secure login using fingerprints or face recognition software, the user chooses a candidate and votes. The information is then sent like a digital package to the network of nodes for verification on the ledger. This information is never stored, but rather existing on a “chain” supported by numerous other nodes simultaneously. Once the vote is verified, the information is then stored on the blockchain. With decentralization and encryption, blockchain’s database of transactions is incorruptible because every single record is easily verifiable. The network cannot be influenced or taken down by a single entity because it doesn’t exist in only one place. Blockchain voting applications do not have to be concerned with hackers that have access to the voting terminal because they will not be able to affect the other nodes. Voters are allowed to personally audit their votes by matching their ballot to the one printed on a digital receipt coded with a unique, anonymous voter ID. Also, voters can submit their votes without giving their political preference or identity to the public. This system is also cost-effective only costing about $0.50 a vote compared to the current cost of $7.00 to $25.00 once all factors are considered.
Trials In Use
Over the last few years, Denver, West Virginia, and Utah County, Utah have used blockchain mobile applications to allow military members and families overseas access to casting absentee ballots. These trials have shown great success with overseas voting doubling, but not without criticism from security experts who worry about hacking and manipulation of voter counts. Lieutenant governor Spencer Cox from Utah stated,
“You have to guarantee a private vote, and people have to be able to vote anonymously and that, by definition, makes it impossible to audit,” said Cox. “It’s not that someone actually has to hack an election. They just have to claim they did, and if you can’t claim otherwise, you’ve undermined the foundation of our democratic republic.”
Utah County, is looking to partner and expand blockchain voting to five or six other jurisdictions in time for the 2020 elections. This will greatly expand the eligible voters base making it easier for people who are disabled or live in far out rural areas where it can be difficult to travel long distances to get to voting stations.
Voting interference has been in the spotlight ever since the 2016 elections. These trials over the last few years are proving that blockchain voting can be a safe and secure way to see that every vote is counted and counted correctly and that easy access is available to those who have difficulty getting to the polls.