2020: The Dawn Of Digital Democracy
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Update: August 19th, 2020
You might have heard the news that the USPS filed a patent publication in Febuary 2019 for a cryptographically tracked and secured vote-by-mail system. Similarly to my article below, what this means, is that their proposed system would track and secure votes through the use of blockchain. Blockchain engineering securely logs the data enclosed in your mail-in votes to demonstrate election accuracy. This type of system also allows for you, the voters, to cast your votes using scanned versions of ballots that you get in the mail, which includes absentee ballots.
Note: I have attached the code design at the bottom of the article, pulled directly from the USPS patent, for those with a tech background.
We have come a long way since the establishment of Democracy in Athens over 2500 years ago. Yet voting has always been an anomaly, very often of disastrous proportions. Why is it that current day voting systems are constantly failing, making a mockery of societal advancement? Either the Athenians had the right idea counting ballots by hand, or we are diminishing the potential of innovation and advancement.
The future of a country depends upon its governing body and without a doubt, the ability for all citizens to vote easily and securely in elections plays a key role. However, as we saw last week with the Iowa caucuses, easy access can not be the only criteria for a trustworthy electronic voting system. This is where blockchain e-voting could make a big splash, building trust within both the government and the voter by proving that it is both reliable and trustworthy.
Blockchain networks operate without the control of a single party. Rather, these networks rely on a public "open ledger" where every transaction is verified instantly by the other nodes (members) of the network. Essentially, blockchain serves the purpose of storing transactions and data, sharing it with everyone else who is part of the network. That's not to say that your personal information is ever made public. Quite the opposite. Blockchain is fully anonymous by nature.
Let's take a look at a standard blockchain e-voting scenario:
Once you log in to the app or website, your ID is first verified against the registered voter database to ensure you haven't already voted. Next, you cast your ballot anonymously. Your transaction is then broadcast to the entire blockchain for validation and, while anyone can view the transaction number and data, your identity and personal information is always confidential. Finally, your unique transaction is registered in the network, rendering it immutable. This is the beating heart of the inner workings of blockchain technology!
If a nation intends to avoid controversial elections, the process must consist of three key elements: fairness, transparency and verification. Since blockchain transactions are immutable, transparent and self-verifiable, it is very easy to see that blockchain meets all the conditions making it one of the better potential solutions to e-voting disasters.
Network consensus protocols are one of the most important and revolutionary aspects of blockchain technology. Consensus mechanisms are rules that make sure all the nodes (network members) on the blockchain maintain and process transactions in sync with each other, which is how consensus on legitimate transactions is reached. Malicious transactions are automatically kicked out of the transaction queue due to the same consensus protocols.
To prevent controversial elections, such as last week's Iowa debacle, blockchain technology solves voting problems based on its very own nature. Blockchain's force majeure in solving the problems that occur in a general voting system lies in its three key elements: fairness, transparency and verification.
We need change. This is an age where we all deserve to be heard and most of us want to be heard right now. Everything is evolving around us. It very well may be that blockchain technology is the change that Democracy could embrace as we move forward in a modern age.