Many vulnerabilities: On using blockchains in electronic voting
- Posted By
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.