The US presidential election on November 3rd was controversial from the start. But allegations of election fraud by defeated President Trump have ruined the whole process. Daniel Hardman, Chief architect and head of information security in the self-sovereign identity solution, Evernym believes that blockchain technology could help general voting in the future.
“In principle, blockchain technology can provide voters with a way to reliably and securely register in order to vote. When votes are cast, blockchain can be a mechanism to prove that someone has the right to vote.” based on your previous registration “, Hardman told Cointelegraph. “Blockchain technology can provide some functions that are useful when examining a vote in an election,” added.
Republicans were reluctant to accept Biden’s victory, despite the electoral college reviewing the results in early December. The motives ranged from allegations of faulty or manipulated voting machines to allegations of forged votes, which occur en masse at very important polling stations.
“What we saw recently in the Pennsylvania, Arizona, etc. election disputes, there are certain features of blockchain technology that would have allowed for a more robust test,” Hardman said. “You could basically put aside all concerns about manipulation and the like.”
With public blockchains such as Bitcoin (BTC), every transaction is recorded in an unchangeable public ledger, which makes audits easier and more transparent than centralized or paper-based processes. Applying this technology in the electoral process could produce similar results for voting.
Although the model appears transparent and immutable, How would the authorities know if the votes were from citizens who only voted once? “What you want is what is called end-to-end review,” Hardman explained. “On the one hand, the front is the registration part,” he said, adding:
“You need to know that a person can only register once, and that means that when someone comes to register you do the things you would do today in a physical voting mechanism, i.e. check the driver’s license to determine whether her photo matches, his signature matches, all these things. “
Then the technology under the hood ensures that each person has only voted once. “On the back you show that exactly one vote can be cast for each data record”, Hardman said.
An extremely complex problem that requires different solutions based on different threat factors. A blockchain-based voting system could contain certain components such as biometric identification to prevent election fraud and malware. “When you know that John Smith of 123 Main Street, Pennsylvania has a certain fingerprint, it’s pretty difficult for others to vote on his behalf,” Hardman explained.
Nevertheless What prevents governments and corporations from using this personal information for tracking and other purposes? Hardman stated that China and its COVID prevention measures are an example of an invasion of privacy. The country has tracked its residents’ temperatures, which match their identity and location, he said.
“In elections, you want to separate those two questions,” said Hardman. “The question is the party trying to cast a vote because it was previously registered in the system. It is a question”, he showed. “The question of ‘who is this person’ is a different question,” he explained, adding:
“There are parts of an election where you might want to ask both questions, but there are other parts where you don’t have to ask both questions and if you separate them you can prevent the government from having some kind of apocalyptic surveillance state . Let him know what vote you cast and when you cast it and things like that. “
A solution for the problem? According to Hardman, it is a blockchain technology known as zero-knowledge proofs. Null knowledge tests essentially verify a person’s identity without revealing their private information. “Someone is asked to provide full identification at the time of registration, you know who they are, where they live, etc., but at the time of voting, they are asked to show that they have the privilege to vote.” vote without revealing who they are, “Hardman explained.” They also ask them to prove that their vote has not yet been recorded in the system […] this guarantees that you cannot vote twice. “
In recent years, blockchain technology has grown in popularity due to its usefulness in a number of major processeslike supply chain activities.