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Potential for Blockchain Inclusion in Voting System

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Voting and ensuring a secure election system for candidates in the government or any society is essential and undoubtedly one of the most important processes that needs to be managed with high precision so that a fair representation of the votes can be reflected when making the decision. However, with the advancement of technology and hacking tools available for exploitation, malicious methods are being put to test to infiltrate the database as well as voting machines to distort and create a havoc within the voting system. As such, it can eventually reach the stage where results can be rigged and used to portray an unjust outcome that has potential to cause corruption and discourage voters from placing their choices in the first place.

Ensuring voting confidentiality and security has become a huge spotlight issue with citizens raising their voices and opinion to find effective solutions to alleviate the problem and relieve people from concerns.

Hence, blockchain technology has the potential in both political and technological aspects to maintain privacy, minimize election costs and most importantly ensure all votes deemed legitimate are counted and reflected. In the modern online voting system, votes are submitted through a system where there is a main database that collects and keeps track of all the votes casted through the server. Each vote is then tallied and verified so that there are no duplicates between different people and that there are no fraudulent activities. However, there are potential problems out there with technology facing the current voting systems when servers become too full or unable to handle the quantity of votes being placed at once. This could then lead to problems ranging from validation of votes placed from many different locations or hacking into it to place unauthorized votes.

When incorporating blockchain technology into a voting system the registration of voters will have to first take place physically and done through a way where eligibility is determined correctly. Once the voter falls into the eligible category, they would receive a special key or single token through blockchain that would allow them to vote only once. Furthermore, due to the fact that the voting process will not pass through a central agency but become decentralized it will essentially enable votes to be placed across multiple locations rather than one single central agency where it will have to hold onto all the data that is being placed. This will be under the condition that all those accessing are registered and eligible to vote. Ultimately, this will ensure that voters will only be able to vote once which subsequently will remove the extraneous error of duplicates.

Furthermore, the blockchain itself will act as the distributed ledger where all shared and synced information such as the voting results will be spread across multiple location or node and not just one central agency or main database. It will instead function and act in accordance with the blocks or nodes spread out, that will process, validate and take digital data from all of the transaction across the whole node in the system. This will mean that checking information will be easily identifiable due to its link and extremely difficult to infiltrate or break due to decentralization that allows the node to exist in multiple places rather than one single system. If hackers did want to make any amendments of the election results in any way, they would have to infiltrate every node of the network simultaneously, change all the past history and transactions that have been made whilst recalculate the next blocks in the chain to create a new consensus (Gregor, 2018).

Consensus mechanisms are fundamentally protocols that have been formed to ensure and provide all nodes which contain information are in synch with each other and determine which addition of data is legitimate and able to be added to the transaction ultimately forming the blockchain. There are many consensuses mechanism protocol out there which respectively involve different ways of operation.

Proof of work (PoW) is the most commonly use and original consensus mechanism and is where miners (special users of Bitcoin) will solve complex mathematical puzzles to find the nonce value which in turn will validate the transaction. The first one to solve this puzzle will get to create the forthcoming block and receive rewards for creating the block.

Delegated proof of stake is also known as DPoS in another type of consensus algorithm and comes from proof of stake in which a certain size or limited number of block makers/miners are selected to mine and build blocks in a systematic sequential order. Due to the limited capacity that can be held, block producers are selected based on a voting scheme where users in the network will choose who will be elected and have their secure position in the network and conversely who will be removed. Moreover, the voting authority will be correlated to the number of tokens each user hold. Thus, those that do get enough votes will remain in the threshold and have their ownership/stake on the network. Lastly, the rewards that are given to those on the network will be shared with their counterpart voters.

Proof of stake is a little different to PoW and this is different in the aspect of where miners require solving mathematical puzzle to validate the next transaction, there is no need in PoS for doing these rigid complex tasks. Instead, miners are simply selected based on a random token quantity selection method to validate the transaction.

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However, to be more specific, miners in this protocol have to stake in a certain amount of tokens in their desired blockchain network and consequently the more you stake or invest in the network the higher the probability you have of being nominated to validate the next upcoming transaction and most importantly receiving the respective reward. The more you stake the higher your chances of getting nominated to verify a transaction and getting the reward for doing so.

Delegated proof of stake (DPoS) would be the most appropriate and fitting consensus mechanism choice for the voting system. It is one of the faster and quickly processible operation as well. For instance, if all votes placed in the network to their designated choice and is then transmitted to every other user to confirm the transaction, it will be easily identifiable for any rejections that did take place since only the chosen miner for each part is allowed to determine the outcome of the block.

In the real voting system, a similar methodology could be taken where the network adds the block of votes to the chain and a user or miner who is authorized to confirm the validity of the votes verify the transaction. This block is then escalated to the next level where all remaining miners on the network make the final agreement decision on the vote.

By getting confirmation from multiple users dispersed across the network we can evenly spread the load reducing the traffic and error possibility as well ensure that the system maintains its activity where sometimes high traffic on one certain area could lead to crashing or unexpected failures.

The integrity and traceability of a voting system can be somewhat ensured using blockchain technology which can range and involve from securing the privacy of voter and ensuring their election votes are counted and legitimate. This can be done through this blockchain technology as votes or ballots placed will be confidential and private since only the designated voter will have access through a special private key. Furthermore, due to blockchain running through a decentralized system rather than one central agency where all information is collected all of the votes or ballot information will be simultaneously captured and encrypted in multiple locations where hacking this system will require extreme technical knowledge and advance tools.

To be able to access the information, hackers would have to use malicious methods to infiltrate each and every database located in different networks rather than one single network. More importantly, if anyone attempted to modify or amend the information, all of the entities inside would be instantly notified and would quickly respond to the situation. However, we cannot reassure ourselves with the current blockchain technology as like all technology it is never perfectly secure and impossible to penetrate through hacking methods.

Blockchain technology in voting system will have many potential advantaged due to the technological advancement it can benefit from like explained above. It will help reduce the breach gap in regard to the security aspect and minimizing fraudulent activities regarding the election.

However, like always there is a drawback for any technological advancement, as voting online through blockchain could still be in current stage be extremely dangerous and vulnerable due to the Internet and online aspect being an open source and not enough security requirements developed onto it yet.

Blockchain technology is a recent issue and has gained a lot of spotlights in the media due to the innovation it can potentially bring and change the operation fashion of many areas from security and efficiency of how things can be better. Nevertheless, it has still not been fully uncovered of its potential and therefore it cannot be fully acclaimed that things will change drastically and be revolutionary in a positively ethical way. However, what we can reassure ourselves is that there is massive potential out there and a bright future if able to execute this technology right.

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Potential for Blockchain Inclusion in Voting System. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/potential-for-blockchain-inclusion-in-voting-system/
“Potential for Blockchain Inclusion in Voting System.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/potential-for-blockchain-inclusion-in-voting-system/
Potential for Blockchain Inclusion in Voting System. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/potential-for-blockchain-inclusion-in-voting-system/> [Accessed 1 Feb. 2023].
Potential for Blockchain Inclusion in Voting System [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Feb 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/potential-for-blockchain-inclusion-in-voting-system/
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