I read that the so-called midterm elections were held in the United States, mid-term elections. In many states, paper and pencil are not used to express one’s preference, but voting machines – which have some problems. Now someone proposes to vote from home, with the smartphone, and using the blockchain. But sure it’s a good idea?

In general, we can distinguish between electronic voting and internet voting, which are not the same thing, but they have in common the fact of using technology to facilitate voting and polling operations. In the first case, normally, the voter goes to the seats and finds touch screen terminals (but it is not said) and can click on the candidate or party for which he wishes to express his preference. Now there are two possible sub-modes: there is the case in which the voter shows a screen with the words “Thank you for voting”, and therefore this should be trusted that everything went well, and a secondary option (but more secure) where the machine will also print an anonymous receipt with voting preference. It is an important step, because the voter receives a proof that his vote has been registered as he intended, and the receipt ends in an urn like in Italy: on the one hand an almost instantaneous result, through an electronic system, on the other however, there are paper grades that can be checked later if you fear errors in the result provided by the machines, or worse, fraud.

Internet voting, on the other hand, allows you to vote at home in comfort, and is adopted by a few countries, including Estonia. Both systems have extremely serious vulnerabilities, and to date, all the experts agree that it is much wiser not to include technology in the voting process.

But for some years now someone has advocated the possibility of using the blockchain to solve some of the problems of voting on the internet: in West Virginia in August the vote on the mobile system based on the blockchain platform was tested, and the New York Times hosted a piece of opinion where the idea was re-launched by Alex Tapscott, co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute. Tapscott does not talk about the future, but about the present, “today building an inclusive, scalable online voting system that works is possible,” he says.

What happens if in 2020 there will be those who swear to have voted Trump but that his vote has not been correctly registered, or vice versa “? So, it is not by chance, the importance of the paper proof is emphasized – that everyone, even the most older people, intuitively understand how they function, and, more importantly, allow you to verify with your own eyes the goodness of the results, participating in the operations of counting .. How many understand, even among those who have a background in engineering or computer science, the operation of the blockchain? the hand on the fire we: few, very few.There are two problems: the first is the trust of the voters in their voting system, which is fundamental, and the second, we add, is that we risk having a very narrow circle of people who seriously understand the mechanisms of the electoral platform, with the consequence that in cases of technical problems there are very few people with the cognitive tools necessary to make medium is one of the problems Estonia has with its i-voting system.

Added to this are all the problems afflicting remote voting operations, carried out outside the seats (vote by correspondence, i-voting … nothing changes): the avoidance of the possibility of protecting the principle of secrecy of the vote and his freedom. If the device you use to vote is infected, it means that I can in the worst case manipulate your vote, in the best way to know exactly what you voted for. But not only that, if I am a citizen harassed by organized crime, one thing is to go to the seat, which is guarded by law enforcement, and vote in the secret of the voting booth, the other is being able to vote using a PC or smartphone anywhere, maybe right in front of the prying eyes of the head stick on duty, with the threat of losing the house or the car if I do not support the candidate who has decided him for me.

What do you think is valid or not? would it help to make things easier?

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  1. Nicholas

    Anything, literally anything is a good solution, what can help that, keep the election “clear”. So much manipulation in numbers, so much manipulation trought private media.
    Just simple need a tool, what can help to using our rights, and give our votes.