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Blockchain – Combating Voter Fraud

With Malaysia’s 14th general election over bar for the shouting, the country is moving into a period of reflection. Yes, mistakes occurred and abuses in the electoral system were evident, but the people made their choice. Looking forward to the next general election, and maybe local elections, many wonder, can transparency and security be ensured for those eligible to vote.

Can Blockchain Technology Solve Voting Issues?

Finterra argues that Blockchain technology, which is already widely used in finance, real estate, healthcare and other sectors — not only offers the most secure voting technology available, with the potential to revolutionise the entire voting process. Blockchain would bring innovation to an outdated system, and more importantly, improve election security across the board, reducing skepticism of the democratic process around the globe, a fact borne out by its use in the recent Sierra Leone elections, and the use of Blockchain, that underpins all of Estonia’s digital services.

Voting Security Advantages on the Blockchain

Every record on a Blockchain appears on a peer-to-peer, distributed ledger, meaning that everyone on the network can view and verify the records. For election purposes, each vote would connect to an individual voter with discrepancies solved by simply reviewing the ledger — reducing voter fraud. Furthermore, voters’ identities would be completely anonymous.

Though individual votes would be publicly available, voters would be masked behind an encrypted key of random numbers and letters. This would ensure privacy and security — much more than traditional ballot boxes — and reduce the possibility of voter suppression: if you cannot identify voters, you cannot target them.

A Blockchain is also immutable: that is, every record on the ledger is permanent and unalterable. That would make auditing easier, tampering almost impossible and lost or missing votes a thing of the past. Every ballot would be final and guaranteed.

However, perhaps the important security advantage of the Blockchain is decentralisation. Because the ledger is distributed across a public network, it has no single storage base. In order for the voting network to be compromised, you would need to hack a majority of the “blocks” and complete the hack before new blocks are created, like an extremely complex game of whack-a-mole. This makes hacking any Blockchain hard. For a large Blockchain — such as an election Blockchain — it would be even harder.

Next Steps

Critics of Blockchain-based voting largely miss the point. While the Blockchain may be imperfect, but those of the current system dwarf its weaknesses. Furthermore, Blockchain technology would solve the two most prominent election concerns (which generally fall along ideological lines): voter access and voter fraud.

For activists worried about voter suppression, a Blockchain would allow eligible voters to cast ballots anonymously on their laptop, tablet or phone using an encrypted key. At the same time, the public ledger would tie each ballot to an individual voter, establishing a permanent, immutable record. Fraud would be highly unlikely, and any foul play, either would be evident on the ledger or corrected by the peer-to-peer consensus network.

In that regard, Blockchain-based voting represents a bipartisan win-win proposition. The trick lies in persuasion and adaptation, as with any major innovation.

Finterra is in the final stages of building its own proprietary Blockchain platform, enabling real world solutions that address the needs of governments and global industries.

Finterra offers a truly global, fully inclusive platform that aims to bridge the gap between consumers, providers and regulators through its innovative Blockchain offering.

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