Donald Trump’s challenge to the results of the last presidential elections in the US has reignited debates over the use of technology in the voting process. As many voices are raised to recommend the use of blockchain, several gray areas still exist. Chief Architect and Head of Information Security at Evernym, a self-sovereign identity solution, Daniel Hardman explained the benefits of using blockchain in the electoral process.
The blockchain can guarantee the reliability of electoral lists and that of votes cast
From the outset, the information security specialist made known the two major points on which blockchain would bring more transparency. It is the reliability of the electoral lists and that of the votes cast by the names appearing on this list. “Basically blockchain can provide a way for voters to be reliably and securely registered to vote, and then when the votes are cast, it can be a mechanism to prove that someone has the right to vote, based on his prior registration. It can provide certain characteristics that would help verify a vote in an election, ”he said.
He then returned to the points raised by the Trump camp to question the proclaimed results. These include allegations relating to faulty or manipulated voting machines and also falsification of ballot papers. For these specific cases, Mr. Hardman recalled that the blockchain was endowed with characteristics allowing more robust audits able to dispel any doubt. To ensure that the votes recorded on the blockchain come from citizens who have only voted once, he mentioned the possibility of performing an end-to-end verification. “In the end, you prove that for any given entry, you can express exactly one voice », He assured.
What about the confidentiality of personal data?
The implementation of end-to-end verification involves the biometric identification of voters and therefore the use of some of their personal data. There is therefore a risk that governments and companies may use this information for purely self-serving purposes. To this concern, Mr. Hardman proposes the use of a blockchain solution called Zero-knowledge proofs. This allows verify the identity of a voter without revealing their private data.
“You ask a person at the time of registration to strongly identify themselves, you know, who they are, where they live and so on, but when they vote, what you are asking her is to prove that she has the privilege of voting without revealing who she is. You also ask them to prove that their vote has not already been recorded in the system […] which ensures that you cannot vote twice Mr. Hardman explained.
Despite such a clear presentation of the benefits of using blockchain in an election, concrete cases of its effectiveness are still missing. The year 2021 may be the answer to this unknown if a country experiences it.