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Many vulnerabilities: On using blockchains in electronic voting

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    3rd Feb, 2021


  • ECI is commencing trials of a “remote voting project”. The robustness of blockchains in electronic voting is, as yet, suspect.

Remote Voting Project via blockchain technology

  • It is being developed by IIT-Madras.
  • It uses the blockchain method for “two-way remote voting” at designated centres.
  • Remote voting, as an option, has gained some priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The blockchain method implements an online public bulletin board that allows for a linear ordering of data to which a user can only further append data.
  • The board itself is public and available for anyone to read and verify.
  • In the case of a blockchain-based voting system, the voting authority will have to authenticate this bulletin board in which users sign in using cryptographic signatures to register their votes in a ledger.

Concerns related to the project

  • While this system uses cryptographic features and promises data security and verifiability. However, it will depend upon a network and devices could introduce vulnerabilities that are present in any Internet-based system.
  • Blockchains also introduce issues related to complexity and their management.

Other distance system

  • Mail-in ballot system
  • In the U.S. the mail-in ballot system was used in the recent presidential election.
  • The registered voters received ballots and returned it via post or dropped it off at secure “drop boxes” or voting centers.
  • This was entirely paper based.

Electronic Voting Machine (EVM)

  • Electronic Voting Machine is voting using electronic means to either aid or take care of the chores of casting and counting votes.
  • It is equipped with a standalone single-chip device, which is not connected to any network.
  • This is besides several technological and administrative safeguards to ensure that the machine is not tampered with.
  • With the addition of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to the EVM, “audit-ability” was added to the process.

Verifying, please be patient.