In any democracy voting event is the most important event that allows its citizens to exercise their power by voting and selecting their representative. And to protect this right of its citizens, conducting fair elections is a necessity for any democratic country.
In a democracy vote of each individual counts but still many voters do not go to the polling booth on election day to cast their vote due to various reasons such as they may be out of station that day or they may feel that polling booth is very far away and some might also feel and believe that their vote does not count because of the unfair election results. And also who goes out to vote have to wait in long queues to cast their votes.
In current system voting is either done by writing your opinion on paper or by evm also known as electronic voting machines and with increasing allegations of tampering of evm’s by election commission to favor a political party, replacement of traditional voting system is necessary to limit voting frauds, and to make voting more transparent, a new system of voting is needed and that system should also be cost efficient and convenient for voters. A system that can cover all gaps of traditional voting systems and a system in which we can vote even when we are very far away.
We are a generation that prefers to do all things online from ordering a pizza to finding a life partner everything can be done online then why we can not conduct voting online? Well these idea is not possible in reality cause it has some very difficult challenges to deal with let’s look at it.
Problems with traditional online voting
Suppose government creates a website like they have created cowin portal for vaccination purposes, and tries to run elections on that site, sounds great? But that would be a disaster as websites have a centralized server which is very prone to hacking and several other attacks like DDOS and also any enemy state can hack or manipulate election results using their cyber army. And cases of influenced voting can be in large numbers moreover there is no traditional way in which any web 2.0 system can verify whether your vote has been counted or not, in this online voting system because there need to be a centralized server controlled by some people who have been given authority there is a risk that they might manipulate the results so the most important issue of transparency and decentralization is not addressed in this online voting system with risk of getting hacked.
Blockchain Voting – The Solution
Blockchain technology can help to address all the issues and gaps of traditional voting system as well as online voting system as it can create an electronic voting system that is immutable, transparent and can not be hacked to change the result. Therefore blockchain voting is an effective means to conduct fair elections.
How Blockchain voting will work?
The first and foremost step in this blockchain based voting system is to validate the identity of the voter, for doing this the election commission will need to create an application where voters can upload their details, and election commission will verify that details with their database if details are correct then election commission can add the list of eligible voters to the voting blockchain after list is added on the blockchain, a smart contract will be executed that will issue a ballot so that voter can vote and submit it to the ballot box.
Blockchain based voting will also ensure that a user does not vote multiple times as each voter will be assigned a unique pair of private and public key and using which they can only vote once, also when a voter votes the polling decentralized application will consult the voter blockchain to ensure whether the public key has already voted or not if a vote is for first time it is added and recorded and if it is for more than one time it is not accepted at all. Thus in this way blockchain tackles the issue of multiple votes.
After voting each vote becomes a transaction and gets stored on blockchain after encryption. And once vote is casted it can not be changed as in a blockchain blocks are immutable, voter can even print the receipt as a proof of casting the vote. Through blockchain voter will be able to verify that his vote has been casted and counted. The voter can even audit the whole blockchain ledger to see whether results are accurate, while retaining the privacy of other users. Also, result of elections conducted online by using blockchain can be declared instantly which is not possible in traditional method and cost of conducting elections on blockchain will be very less and it also eliminates chances of human error in results.
Usage of blockchain voting
Blockchain voting system will provide voters the flexibility to login and vote from any part of the world, voters just need a phone and an active internet connection, this method will ensure maximum participation of voters and will result in an accountable government, using this method valuable votes will no longer go waste. Many countries are running a pilot project to adopt blockchain technology for a secure voting system, for example west virginia, sierra leone tested mobile voting through blockchain in 2018. Apart from state elections this technology can also be used in the process of voting in reality shows like America got talent and other talent hunt shows where vote of the viewers matters the most.