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Blockchain Technology in Voting System

Voting is a fundamental right for citizens in democracies all over the world. It is important to ensure that residents have a role in who represents them and how issues that affect them are resolved.

Voting is frequently done viva voce, or by voice vote, in the days following American independence. Later the same year, in 1634, Massachusetts became the first state to elect its governor via paper vote.

As a result, governments worldwide have been investigating blockchain as a medium for making general elections tamper-proof and transparent to build a system in which everyone trusts data and counterfeiting is impossible.

For many years, democracies worldwide relied on paper ballots before transitioning to computerized voting machines. Despite system checks, security processes, and election rules, these machines are not tamper-proof. Critics think that the proprietary code used to control the electronic voting devices can be altered.

Online voting is becoming more popular in modern society. It can reduce organizational costs while increasing voter turnout. It eliminates the need to print ballots or open polling stations because voters can vote from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Despite these advantages, internet voting methods are viewed with skepticism since they present additional risks. A single flaw can result in large-scale vote rigging. Electronic voting systems must be legitimate, accurate, safe, and convenient when utilized in elections. Even so, adoption may be hampered by potential issues with computerized voting systems.

Blockchain technology was developed to address these concerns and provides decentralized nodes for electronic voting. It is utilized to create electronic voting systems primarily due to several benefits of Blockchain technology in voting system. With dispersed, non-repudiation, and security protection features, this technology is an excellent replacement for traditional electronic voting methods.

What is Online Voting?

An "online voting system," also known as "Internet voting," is a software platform that allows groups to securely conduct votes remotely and elections. Voters cast their votes with the aid of a computer during an election. High-level Online voting systems balance the overall ballot security and ensure the accessibility and tamper-proof behavior of recorded data.

Ballot casting, recording, and tabulation are routinely done with computers, even in voting systems that are not strictly electronic. In the strict sense, electronic voting is a system followed nowadays in elections, where the first step, ballot composition (or choosing), is done with the aid of a computer.

Because of security and access concerns, most large-scale electronic voting is currently held in designated precincts using special-purpose machines. This type of voting mechanism is referred to as e-voting. There are two major types of e-voting equipment: direct recording electronic (DRE) machines and optical scanning machines.

A typical DRE is composed of a touch screen connected to a computer. Ballots are presented to the voters on the touch screen, where they make their choices and cast their ballots. The touch-screen display can assist the voter in various ways, including displaying large fonts and high contrast for those with limited vision, alerting the voter to undervotes, and preventing overvotes.

A DRE is a secure process that directly records the cast ballots and stores the data in its memory. Thus, a single machine is used for the composition, casting, and recording of votes. The third step, recording the cast ballot in a memory device, is invisible to the voter. Assurance that the vote is recorded as cast relies on testing the machine’s hardware and software before the election and confidence that the software running during the election is the same as the one tested before the election. Both of these are subjects of much controversy.

In other optical scanning systems, voters compose their votes on a computer screen. Once a ballot is completed, the computer prints an optical scanning ballot. The voter verifies the ballot and then inserts it into another device that scans and tabulates the vote. Both of these systems are considered electronic voting systems.

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Blockchain Technology in Voting System

Blockchain technology is widely used across the globe in multiple sectors of the economy, including cryptocurrency, media, and entertainment, and yes in the voting system too!

Blockchain is a digital ledger, a shared database that differs from a typical database in how it stores information. Blockchains store data in blocks that are then linked together via cryptography. As new data sets come in, they are entered into fresh blocks. Once each block is filled with data, it is chained onto the previous block, which makes the data chained together in chronological order.

While connecting Blockchain to the voting system, we can easily evaluate how efficient it would make the system after its implementation. Firstly, blockchain vote helps monitor the increasing/decreasing count of votes every second, minimizing the chances of hacking, alteration, or tampering the sensitive information. It even makes life easier for overseas voters who can easily access the election administration through mobile phones over blockchain networks. A single click on a mobile device can help you cast a vote remotely through online voting without any problems.

The blockchain-based system tends to create a secure environment for the citizens and helps build trust and overcome any uncertain situation. Blockchain could play an important role in securing the voter registry. Citizens and authorized government officials could update voter records more securely as a blockchain creates an audit trail of changes, including information on what account made the change and when. Independent watch-dogs could track the edits to voter records on a blockchain in real-time, watching for purges or suspicious activities. Also, it provides correct vote counts and 100% transparency during an election.

In the early stages of its evolution, voters had always faced trust issues regarding their votes. They thought their ballot was being altered, discarded, or replaced after they cast their votes in person or via the mail. Electronic voting technologies backed by the security properties of blockchain can be used to reduce the risk of votes being manipulated after being cast and before being tabulated. In such a system, voters cast ballots in polling stations using electronic voting machines, which record the data onto a blockchain and provide voters with a paper receipt of their vote for auditing purposes. Voters then can verify that their ballot was cast according to their vote. This way, the blockchain systems will help show accurate election results and count votes without any chance of human error. With the help of blockchain technology experts and custom blockchain solutions, the voting industry is now able to benefit from Blockchain development services like secure and transparent voting systems.

For the people who were concerned regarding the security of data, this decentralized is irreversible; no one can transfer one vote to another nor can encourage vote-buying due to the program dynamics; blockchain internet voting creates by its nature an audit trail of changes, including information on what account made the change and when. Independent watch-dogs could track the edits to voter records on a blockchain in real-time, watching for purges or suspicious activities.

Pros of Blockchain Technology in Voting Systems

Blockchain voting is now a trend gaining momentum in the present era. It has unique features and functions, including a decentralized recording system and an anonymized chain of records. Also, it has great potential to change all the traditional global processes into fast and efficient peer-to-peer technology systems.

Following are a few but main reasons why people prefer using Blockchain technology in voting system:

  • Convenience: Imagine it’s a hot sunny day, and you’re dripping sweat. Long, long queues are waiting; yes, it’s the day of the elections! It sounds tiring and boring! (as usual) and with this minute positive energy, not a single candidate would want to go for casting a vote in the nearby ballot box manually processed by the support election officials who verify every vote. Well, now we do have an advanced solution to that. Blockchain technology has come up with tamper-proof solutions that would not only keep your personal information safe but also allow you to vote through online/mobile devices, with the motive of saving the time and energy of all the parties involved. For example, voting in Estonia takes place in advance of election day and runs until the fourth day before the election. Citizens download a voting application via a national election site, then register through a national ID card or mobile PIN assigned through a registration process. Estonian citizens and permanent residents can request two forms of digital identification: Digi-ID and mobile ID. Digi-ID is a card similar to the national ID card designed only for online use.
  • Security of Data and Personal Information: This same technology could also be used to record and report votes and prevent voter fraud in elections. Especially after the misinformation surrounding the 2020 U.S. presidential elections, the world may be ready for blockchain voting on a larger scale. Blockchain Serves the Voters In its most basic form; blockchain is a digital ledger. The technology draws its power from the peers—or nodes—on its network to verify, process, and record all transactions across the system. This ledger is never stored but rather exists on the “chain” supported by millions of nodes.
  • No Intermediary Needed: Blockchain technology works hand in hand with smart contracts that eliminate the need for a “third party” or an “intermediary” to execute the decisions or ensure that the situation has been met. It also results in cost-saving of labor and other tangible resources.

Cons of Blockchain Technology in Voting Systems

Every system has its own set of advantages and shortcomings. Nothing of this nature is flawless; the same goes for the Blockchain voting system.

After adapting to this new technological advancement, citizens and the election authorities realized that solving some voting problems didn't address some core concerns but even created more vulnerable situations than mail-in voting or voting through internet-connected devices.

  • Online voting may seem appealing: voting from a computer or smartphone may seem convenient and accessible. However, studies have been inconclusive, showing that online voting may have little to no effect on turnout in practice and may even increase disenfranchisement.
  • Data entry into the system can be highly secure, using a biometric ID on your smartphone and two-factor authentication. But it doesn’t have to be. Using such a system requires every voter in the country to have a phone and to go down to the county voter’s office to register and get the app in advance of the election. Using older or less secure phones, or lacking a two-factor ID, means the system can be hacked.
  • Blockchain works on computer systems belonging to private actors. It’s a huge distributed computer system with millions of nodes. Each transaction is presented to this system, essentially, as a cryptographic problem. The computers race each other to be the first to solve it. The machine owner who gets home first is rewarded, again in the case of bitcoin, with free bitcoins. In a voting system, this doesn’t work because we can offer the players nothing of value to have their machines work on the problems. It is enormously expensive in terms of capital costs to buy the computers— regular machines can be but are not used; serious miners use machines optimized for the work— and operating costs, chiefly electricity and rent for space to put in your server network, to do this. Without some value exchange in return, nobody is going to do that. The government can’t do it either; national budgets have no room to buy and operate all those computers just for elections.

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In conjunction with smart contracts, the blockchain provides a foundation for developing safer, cheaper, more secure, transparent, and user-friendly e-voting systems. Ethereum and its network are among the most suited platforms for e-voting via the blockchain due to their consistency and extensive use, and the provision of smart contracts logic.

Blockchain is a relatively new technology and has its pros and cons in the context of internet voting. We have already seen the benefits of Blockchain in voting system and its use cases in the real world through startups and even political initiatives. There is still plenty of room for improvement. Our Blockchain development company has years of expertise in delivering blockchain development solutions, and we are confident the same will be done in the future. Moreover, Blockchain has been gaining ground and is a promising blockchain application, already being used in small and medium-sized applications in several different areas, as it addresses the needs of voters around the globe.

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