The presidential election in the United States on Nov. 3 was controversial to begin with, but baseless and false allegations of electoral fraud by defeated President Trump cast a veil over the whole process. Daniel Hardman, chief architect and chief information security officer at self-sovereign identity solution Evernym, thinks blockchain could help voting in general in the future.
“Blockchain can, in fact, provide a way for voters to be reliably and securely registered to vote, and when votes are cast, blockchain can be a mechanism to prove someone has the right to vote, based on their previous registration,” Hardman said. . CoinTelegraph. “Blockchain can provide a number of features that can help control a vote in elections,” he added.
Republicans have been hesitantly to accept a victory from Biden, despite the fact that the Electoral College verified the results earlier in December. The motives ranged from allegations of malfunctioning or manipulated voting machines to allegations of counterfeit ballots appearing en masse on critical voting sites. None of these allegations, however, have come to court.
“The recent things we’ve seen with election challenges in Pennsylvania and Arizona and so forth – there are certain features of blockchain that would have allowed for more robust auditing,” Hardman said. “You could basically take away any worries about mess and stuff like that.”
With public blockchains, such as Bitcoin’s (BTCFor example, every transaction is recorded in an immutable ledger, making audits more foolproof and transparent than centralized or paper-based processes. Applying such technology to voting could produce similar results for voting.
Although the model appears transparent and unchanging, how do the authorities know if the votes come from citizens who have only voted once? “What you want is so-called end-to-end authentication,” 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 in to register, you do the things you would do today at a physical election mechanism, namely – you check the driver’s license, you check their picture. agreements, their signature agreements, all that kind of thing. “
Then, under the hood, the technology ensures that each person has only one vote. “On the back, you prove that you can cast exactly one vote for a particular registration,” Hardman said.
A hugely complex topic that calls for varied solutions based on different threat factors, a blockchain-involved voting system can include specific components to prevent voter fraud and malware, such as biometrics-based voter identification. “If you know that, you know, John Smith at 123 Main Street in Pennsylvania has a certain fingerprint, it’s pretty hard for anyone else to vote on his behalf,” Hardman explained.
That said, what prevents governments and businesses from using such personal information for tracking and other uses? Hardman explained China and its COVID prevention measures as an example of privacy violation. The country has tracked the temperatures of its people, tailored to their identities and locations, he explained.
“In the case of an election, you’d like to separate those two questions,” Hardman said. “The question – is the party trying to cast a vote that is authorized to do so because they have been previously registered in the system – is one question,” he noted. “The question ‘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 separating them can prevent the government from doing that – by being kind. to be. of an apocalyptic surveillance state that knows what vote you cast and when you cast it and things like that. “
A key to the problem? Called a blockchain technology zero knowledge proofs, Hardman said. Zero-Knowledge evidence essentially verifies a person’s identity without actually revealing their private information. “You ask someone during registration to clearly identify, you know, who they are, where they live and so on, but the moment they cast their vote, you ask them to prove that they have the privilege of using the vote. without disclosing who they are, “Hardman explained.” Furthermore, you ask them to prove that their vote is not already recorded in the system. […] which guarantees that you cannot vote twice. “
In recent years, blockchain has gained popularity due to its usability in a number of mainstream processes, such as supply chain activities.