Voting with Blockchain?
Reinventing the Government
Since our societies started to digitalize, all sorts of problems have been solved with the help of new technologies. However, some hurdles have not yet been solved. One of these hurdles in modern society is the voting system. Nowadays, a lot of nations in the world are struggling with the voting structure for elections. Electronic voting machines, vote counters are used, tested and then discarded again due to the fears and risks of a possible unfair or untrustworthy election, but then again governments keep searching for a better way to improve the election process. We see the current election process as a part of a bigger issue where the current implementation of democratic governments have to be reinvented.
It is our vision that citizens can vote in accordance with their individual preference instead of voting on one party or politician. We want to provide the ability to decide which institution or party gets the responsibility per subject. Essentially, the voting system is the very base of the whole system, where citizens choose their representatives. To restore the trust in the current politicians and the government as a whole, we need to ensure that the people’s voice is heard. This is the first step towards a fairer and more trustworthy system.
Solving the problems of E-voting
There are still a lot of people, even some ‘experts’, which are opposed to use technology to improve the elections due to fears. Mostly, these are based on the security aspects, which are logically very important. Furthermore, they see problems with the subjects of recounting votes and privacy. In our path towards a new and better way of voting, we needed a solution to deal with all of these problems. A big element of our solution is the use of Blockchain technology. Although Identity management on the blockchain is still a challenge that has to be solved in the upcoming years, we think that this technology will be the key to the problems of electronic voting. Our platform has three elements which counter the risks that exist:
Track and trace your vote
This functionality lets voters verify their vote by showing a unique image which they have to remember in order to verify their vote after the election. Every person is connected to a randomly selected visual, so only the voter knows. The voter then can check if their vote has been recorded correctly in the blockchain by selecting the right image. This ensures the possibility of recounting and the use of blockchain ensures a secure system which can’t be hacked or frustrated without the majority of the network.
To ensure anonymity and privacy in the blockchain the vote will be made anonymous through blind signing of the ballot pass after the voter has been verified as eligible.
Counter strategic voting
This technology allows for live results, however, to avoid problems with strategic voting we introduce a smokescreen of fake votes which ensures a fair progress of the election. To filter out the fake votes after the voting timeslot passes, the validated votes are registered in a list which is encrypted with the shared public key of all the municipalities that participate (388 in the Netherlands). Only their private keys combined can decrypt the list.
With these three parts of our solutions we overcome the current fears by creating a secure process by design allowing for checks by the voter and monitoring parties after voting. The issue of anonymity and privacy is cared for by blind signing the ballot pass.
Our first goal is to establish trust in digital voting. In the upcoming months we will start to by building the technology that enables to vote securely on the current voting system. This will be done in collaboration with other organisations and in cooperation with 5 municipalities where the voting platform will be tested.