As we move into a more technologically driven society, it seems only logical to replace the traditional pen and paper by an innovative method that ensures the end to end process of voting is fully transparent and reflects the will of the people with plain accuracy. Several countries have already embarked on the adventure of digitally registering votes, but in order to exercise their rights, voters have to go to electoral colleges or ballot places to cast their votes. These devices (electoral machines) have no internet, no Wifi, no Bluetooth or any other form of potential transfer of information in order to protect any data alteration. As good as an idea as this is, this methodology, however, does not tackle the issue of those that can’t leave their homes or need assistance in doing so and thus choose not to vote. It does not remove the potential misreporting of data either. E-voting is scary and a matter of concern for both governments and defenders of the right to privacy, but the amount of unfortunate accusations of election rigging shed light on the need to leverage technology as a means of cyber-proofing our rights.
How would it work? Upon registering to vote, the voter would receive a token linked to their passport/national ID that would only allow them to vote once. The registering of said vote should be possible in any form of technological device and should immediately be registered in a DLT, where any alteration could be pinpointed to a person’s individual token and, in the event of fraud, further investigation could be undertaken. If able to leave home, devices ought be used instead of ballot boxes for people to use in electoral colleges. If physically impaired, there should be a government habilitated platform that provides the same service. Voters should always be able to review the vote they casted with their token, and could even request proof of their vote being cast. The validity of an election carried out in this fashion would never be questioned, like many in the past have. It would not depend upon physical people to tally votes and report them, or a central organism to aggregate the results.
Electronic voting trials are generally discontinued for safety purposes, as any device is potentially hackable. However, between needing an ID verification and registering votes on a DLT, the alteration sensitivity is only exposed to human error. Coinbundle, a cryptocurrency investment company, has put forward the proposal of using this methodology for voting, considering the tokenisation of identity for usage in public affairs might be a way of protecting some of our rights and a way to govern the process. A start-up called Follow My Vote, featured in Forbes magazine, the Telegraph and plenty other reputable press mediums, believes that Blockchain backed-up voting is the future and even consider the possibility of voting through a website.
The main message to takeaway is if we already use technology to our advantage in our day-to-day life, we shouldn’t be afraid of taking that leap and using it to ensure that our rights are protected with transparency and accuracy. Instead of focussing on the risks, we should focus on the opportunities, and, if done securely and with the appropriate control, e-voting linked to a DLT could be the saviour of democracy.
every voter to use a unique ID to vote, and every vote will be recorded on a blockchain. Double voting would be impossible (you could only vote once with that ID), and counting would be instantaneous.