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Blockchain Voting: The Future of Secure and Transparent Elections

Blockchain Voting: The Future of Secure and Transparent Elections
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    July 3, 2024 Last Updated: July 9, 2024

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Voting is one of the most fundamental parts of any democracy, yet traditional voting methods have always faced challenges. About 1 in 5 Americans reported difficulty in voting due to issues such as long lines, inconvenient polling locations, or not being able to take time off work.

But what if there was a way to make voting more transparent and efficient? Yes, you are thinking right, it's blockchain voting.

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the blockchain identity management market is expected to grow from $1.3 billion in 2023 to $35.1 billion by 2028.  It reflects an amazing CAGR of 92.7% during the forecast period.

Blockchain voting leverages the power of blockchain development services to create a digital voting system that is tamper-proof and fully transparent. There are several countries exploring blockchain voting systems due to their benefits in enhancing the security of the electoral process.

In this blog, we'll explore how blockchain voting works, its benefits, and why it’s poised to revolutionize elections. We will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of blockchain voting and its potential impact.

But first, let’s understand - 

Why is the Traditional Voting System Problematic?

Traditional voting systems have several inherent flaws that make them problematic compared to blockchain-based voting systems:

  • Security and Integrity Issues

Traditional voting methods, like paper ballots or electronic voting machines, can be vulnerable to tampering or fraud. There have been cases where ballots were lost, stolen, or even changed after being cast. This raises doubts about the accuracy and fairness of election results. 

  • Transparency and Auditability

Have you ever thought about how votes get counted? Traditional voting systems often lack transparency. It’s not always clear how votes are verified. This lack of transparency can lead to suspicions of fraud or errors, especially when election outcomes are close. Audits to double-check votes can also be complicated and time-consuming which delays the declaration of winners.

  • Poll Inaccessibility

Voting should be easy for everyone, but traditional methods can create barriers. Long lines at polling stations, limited hours, or even not enough polling places in some areas can make it hard for people to vote. This can disproportionately affect elderly voters, people with disabilities, or those who can’t take time off work to vote.

Blockchain Consultation

  • Low Voter Turnout

You might have noticed that not everyone votes. Traditional voting systems sometimes struggle to get people to the polls. Reasons vary—some find it inconvenient, some feel their vote doesn’t matter much in the big picture, and others might not feel well-informed about candidates or issues. Low turnout can mean decisions are made by a smaller, less representative group of people.

  • Voter Registration Fraudulence

We all agree that registering to vote should be straightforward but sometimes people are wrongly added or left off voter rolls. This can happen due to administrative errors, outdated records, or even intentional actions. Voter registration issues can prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots which undermines the fairness of elections.

Here’s the survey from Black Hat USA of the previous election held in the USA back in 2020. Let’s see what it says:

US Election Survey

What are the Benefits of Blockchain-powered Elections ?

Blockchain technology brings several advantages to the electoral process, making it a compelling choice for modernizing how votes are cast and counted. Here are some key benefits of blockchain-powered elections:

Benefits of Blockchain-enabled Elections

1Immutable recordkeeping

One of the standout features of blockchain technology is its immutability. The vote is recorded on the blockchain and it cannot be deleted or altered. This ensures that the voting record remains tamper-proof, providing a secure and trustworthy log of all votes cast. Immutable recordkeeping also helps prevent electoral fraud, as any attempt to alter the vote count would require changing the entire blockchain, which is practically impossible.

2Decentralization

Blockchain decentralized system removes any central authority in charge of overseeing the voting process. Instead, ballots are securely recorded on a distributed network of nodes, making it virtually impossible for any single entity to manipulate the results. This decentralized architecture safeguards against cyberattacks, as there is no single point of vulnerability for malicious actors to exploit.

3Identity verification

Accurate identity verification is crucial in preventing voter fraud and ensuring that only eligible voters can cast ballots. Blockchain can integrate with identity verification systems to create a secure and verifiable record of voter identities. 

This can include biometric data, digital IDs, or other forms of authentication to make sure that each vote is linked to a verified individual. Identity verification on the blockchain also assists in eliminating issues like double voting and impersonation.

4Secure and efficient vote-counting

Election officials can quickly and accurately verify the results using the blockchain’s immutable records. This expedites the declaration of results and instills confidence in the integrity of the electoral process.

What is a Blockchain-based E-Voting System and How Does it Work? 

Similar to the business or finance blockchain, votes in the blockchain are recorded as a transaction on a decentralized ledger, which is nearly impossible to change after registering. This ensures the integrity of the vote and makes the entire process verifiable by anyone.

Now, let’s see how blockchain in voting works:

Blockchain Voting System

Step 1 :Voter Registration

Before the election, voters register on a blockchain-based platform. This ensures that each voter is uniquely identified and authenticated. Blockchain uses cryptographic techniques to secure voter information. This makes it nearly impossible to duplicate records.

Step 2 :Casting the Vote

On election day, registered voters cast their votes via a digital platform, which could be accessed through a computer or smartphone. Each vote is encrypted and turned into a unique transaction on the blockchain.

Step 3 :Recording the Vote

Once a vote is cast, it is recorded on the blockchain as a new block. This block is then added to the existing chain of blocks (the blockchain) in chronological order. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block.

Step 4 :Validation and Consensus

Blockchain relies on a network of nodes (computers) to validate each transaction (vote). These nodes work together to reach a consensus on the validity of each vote before adding it to the blockchain. This process is decentralized, meaning no single entity controls the entire voting process, reducing the risk of fraud.

Step 5 :Counting and Results

As votes are recorded on the blockchain, they can be counted in real time. This helps in producing more quicker and accurate results. Since the blockchain is tamper-proof, the final vote count can be trusted as accurate and legitimate.

Working Of Blockchain Voting

Real-World Example: West Virginia's Blockchain Voting Pilot

In the 2018 midterm elections of the U.S., West Virginia became the first state to use blockchain technology for voting. The pilot project allowed military personnel stationed overseas to cast their ballots securely via a blockchain-based mobile application Voatz

The initiative aimed to improve accessibility and security for remote voters. The results were positive as they demonstrated the potential for blockchain to enhance the integrity and efficiency of the voting process.

After seeing the success of this pilot project many countries took the initiative to use blockchain systems for voting. Let’s explore them one by one further in the blog. 

Countries That Used Blockchain in Elections

Several countries have pioneered the use of blockchain technology in their electoral processes to improve the overall experience of the voting system. Here are some notable examples:

  • Russia

Moscow launched a blockchain-based electronic voting system pilot project in June 2019, partnering with the Moscow City Election Commission and the Moscow Department of Information Technology. The system was not meant to replace the regular voting system but to provide another form of voting for Muscovites.

  • Japan

Tsukuba City became the first Japanese city to introduce blockchain digital voting in 2021 as part of its smart city initiative, integrating a blockchain startup called LayerX into its existing electronic voting system.

  • Estonia 

While not utilizing blockchain, Estonia is a notable example of digitized voting. The country employed a digital voting solution developed by Smartmatic-Cybernetica for the 2014 and 2015 elections. 

Estonia’s system enabled citizens to vote online, enhancing accessibility and convenience. The success of Estonia’s digitized, non-blockchain voting system highlights the potential of digital solutions in modernizing electoral processes.

  • Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone made headlines in 2018 by conducting the world’s first blockchain-based presidential election. The initiative used the Agora blockchain platform to record and verify votes during the presidential runoff election. This pilot aimed to enhance transparency and trust in the electoral process, demonstrating blockchain’s potential in a national election context.

Top 3 Examples of Blockchain Voting Applications 

Blockchain Voting Applications

  • VOATZ

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Voatz is a voting platform that runs on mobile using blockchain technology. It uses encrypted biometric security to allow secure voting on mobile devices from anywhere in the world. Voatz’s technology has already been used by some absentee and overseas military personnel voters to cast their votes in West Virginia in 2018 and Colorado in 2019.

  • Follow My Vote

Location: Golden, Colorado

Follow My Vote uses an open-source virtual blockchain ballot box and is a highly secure online voting platform. The technology decreases spending on physical ballots and can be accessed via any device. Follow My Vote implements the tools that elections need to provide total safety and confidence in the voting process.

  • Votem Corp

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Votem is a comprehensive suite of election management software built on the company’s robust blockchain-based CastIron Platform. Votem’s software provides versatile options for both desktop and mobile users. 

During the 2016 presidential election, Votem played a crucial role in facilitating voter registration and managing absentee ballot requests and deliveries in Montana and Washington.

Blockchain Solutions

Closing Remarks 

In essence, blockchain technology holds great promise for the future of voting systems. As per the CMI report, the blockchain tech market size reached a whopping figure of USD 4.8 Billion in 2022. It is expected to reach USD 69 Billion by 2032 with a CAGR of 68% from 2023 to 2032.

While blockchain voting isn’t a silver bullet and faces some adoption challenges. However, as we saw, the technology is already being piloted in various elections around the world. 

As a blockchain development company, we believe more and more countries and jurisdictions will explore its use to strengthen the integrity and accessibility of their democratic processes. 

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