The race for fast delivery of democracy has encouraged numerous countries to turn to internet voting, and more countries are testing out blockchain voting.
Switzerland for example recently tested out blockchain voting technology especially because it promised to deliver a faster and easier voting process.
Luxoft, Luzern’s Blockchain Lab and the city of Zug recently released a joint report revealing positive results of an e-voting exercise that took place in Zug.
Zug residents welcome blockchain voting
Now, most of the city’s residents like the idea of a decentralized blockchain voting system according to the results. About 80% of Zug’s respondents welcome the blockchain voting idea. They are convinced that introducing e-voting is the best way forward towards facilitating a faster and easier voting exercise.
South Korea has also been testing out a blockchain based system to enable an efficient online secure voting.
A Japan Times report published earlier this year revealed that Tsukuba city launched a blockchain voting system. However, this voting system is specifically for projects regarding social contribution. West Virginia also has a blockchain voting system but only for overseas troops.
Blockchain voting in Estonia
Estonia holds the record of one of the most successful counties in Europe to use an online voting system.
Near 99% of the public services such as its legal system, police work, and judicial procedures are available 24/7 online. The country is using electronic votes (i-voting) since 2005. In 2007 it was the first nation which used i-voting in parliament decisions.
During an election period, the voter can cast a ballot by using a Mobile-ID or an ID-card. Thanks to its voting system Estonia have built an unprecedented level of trust and transparency in its digital society.
The voter’s anonymity is ensured by separating the identity from the vote before it reaches the National Electoral Commission for votes counting.
During the 2012 election day in the USA, 126 million Americans voted. Data from that voter turnout shows that for every 125 voters, one person was required for the vote counting process, and about one million election officials were involved in the process.
On the other side, 30% of Estonians are using e-voting which saves 11,000 working days per election.
Thanks to its ecosystem based on blockchain ledgers, the Baltic nation of 1,3 million people annually saves over 800 years of working time.
The country is now a heaven environment for entrepreneurs and business. Thanks to its forward-thinking policies, 98% of companies established online from 2011. Entrepreneurs can register a business in just minutes instead of 5 days, without having to go to a notary.
West Virginia Blockchain Voting
Does the idea of blockchain based mobile voting sound so futuristic for you? Well, not for West Virginians. During the 2018 midterm elections, nearly 150 troops living away from home, were able to cast their ballots thanks to a blockchain based app.
West Virginia released the blockchain voting app for the first time in two of the 50 counties. Two audits later, and the app was ready to be deployed in 24 counties.
A company called Voatz created the app which can be downloaded from Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. However, there is still the option of using a paper ballot.
The registration process is quite simple. Voters must follow three processes to verify their identities. Once the registration is ready, users can cast their votes through the blockchain based mobile voting app.
According to the Election Assistance Commission, in 2016 just 18% of the 2 million soldiers and their families voted. But what’s even worse, most of the votes were rejected, often because they were received too late. In the end, only 11% of the troops had their votes counted.
Why Blockchain to boost election security?
The blockchain is a highly secure, efficient and eliminates the need for centralized failure. Meanwhile, the traditional voting systems are anything but efficient or secure, which justifies the pursuit for a better solution to elevate election security.
It does not end here- since blockchain based mobile voting is digital, it is rather difficult to convince the masses that blockchain is secure enough. Digital platforms open up cybercrime opportunities and thus making it hard to prove that such a system is hack-proof.
Digital voting with the use of Blockchain technology
Other challenges are standing in Blockchain’s way such as the complexity of user systems or even mechanical issues. Blockchain technology has a lot of issues that it needs to address. However, it is the only solution that is this close to achieving a self-authenticating and transparent digital voting system.
Fortunately, blockchain adoption has been picking up the pace in development, although there is still a long way to go for mass adoption.
How does Blockchain Voting work?
It all starts from a public or a private blockchain. The first concern is related to the user’s privacy. A blockchain should hide the voter’s cast. This process is achievable by using zero-knowledge proofs or encryption methods.
Secondly, each citizen must register and prove their identity. The voter needs to have a unique identification ID. Voters can submit a passport or biometrics like a fingerprint. After that, the identity is recorded on the blockchain associated with that user’s private key and public key.
Instead of a ballot box to cast a vote, a voting token and a smart contract can be used. Each token once sent to the user’s account would have a time limit defined by the smart contract.
All candidates would receive an address. Then citizens can use their token to vote by sending it to the candidate’s address. By following this simple rules, this system can easily count each vote.
Why should we use a blockchain based voting system?
On the blockchain, everything is immutable and verifiable. None would be able to vote twice or delete votes.
Results entered and stored on the blockchain are also immediately available. That means that elections on the blockchain are not only safer but also more efficient.
What’s even better is that blockchain eliminates human error. This will allow knowing election results right after an election is over.
Conclusion: is the blockchain voting technology the solution?
In conclusion, convincing governments to accept a blockchain voting system is still an uphill battle. This is because many people still don’t understand it and lawmakers in many countries are still not convinced enough to sanction blockchain adoption. The crazy thing is that blockchain will probably be massively adopted in the future.
Blockchain voting will be among the many ways that the technology will be applied. Countries that want to achieve voting efficiency and transparency should, therefore, consider adopting blockchain technology considering its capabilities.
Blockchain technology will bring high transparency and trust in digital voting. Our predictions suggest that soon many countries will be diving into this revolutionary innovation.
While we do not know what the future will hold, one thing is for sure- blockchain will play a huge part in it.