Every eligible individual should be able to actively participate in democracy by easily and safely voting when, how, and where they want. Democratic institutions generally subscribe to this philosophy, yet do little to implement it in practice. The guiding philosophy for this Protocol is illustrated below:
“We should be guided by the dynamics of the voting public we serve – seniors whose needs include accessibility and readability of materials; persons with disabilities who have a reasonable expectation of fair and respectful service that allows for a private and secure voting experience; busy professionals who seek options for voting that match their mobile lifestyles – before and on Election Day; citizens with an array of cultural and ethnic backgrounds who depend on increased language accessibility and voter assistance; and future voters whose expectations may include things not yet considered.”
Dean C. Logan | LA County Registrar-Recorder | August 8, 2013
To realize this grand vision, it is impossible to envision the future of democracy where digital elections online are not the global standard. Unfortunately, there exists a wide gap between this inevitability and the progress actually being made towards secure online voting. In fact, most recent efforts, technically and legislatively, have been focused on in-person, paper-based voting.
As major corporate system hacks and election meddling by foreign nation states dominate the news cycle, it is no surprise that digitally enabled systems pose serious challenges. In the context of elections, these challenges revolve around reconciling the tension between strong privacy and security requirements; it is difficult to both guarantee the correctness of the results and the inability of voters to demonstrate how they have voted. Furthermore, this must all be done in an environment where everyone is potentially adversarial and no one is to be trusted.
However, moving backwards towards in-person, paper-based elections ignores an increasingly demanding, mobile, and connected society with a need for broader access, public transparency, and individual verifiability. As opposed to working collaboratively to find solutions to these problems, many are trying pull the industry back into the past. Society no longer rides horse and buggy despite the risk of auto accidents introduced by cars; the mere existence of risk should not preclude technological progress.
Consequently, in an effort to modernize the democratic process, Votem introduces our Proof of Vote® Protocol, a blueprint for secure online voting .
The objective of this Protocol is to help election management bodies introduce online voting with levels of security and safety that are superior to in-person, paper-based elections, with restored trust, increased access, voter verifiability, and better public transparency.
Specifically, Proof of Vote focuses on the following goals:
Restore Trust in Elections. Our current election infrastructure does not earn the trust of those using it, rather, it demands it without offering the verifiable proof that a voter’s vote was cast and counted as intended. Voters must be provided sufficiently convincing evidence that election integrity has not been compromised.
Make it Easy to Vote and Impossible to Cheat. The unfortunate downside of in-person, paper-based elections is that access to voting is reduced, negatively impacting an increasingly mobile society. Mobile technology is passed its point of ubiquity; imagine if your only option for filing your taxes was to appear at the IRS in person, your only option for banking to show up to your local branch at their hours, and your only option for shopping to go to the store. It is not just a matter of convenience; people often risk their lives to participate in elections, and far too many lose their lives doing so.
Make Elections Transparent. It is inaccurate to say that paper ballots increase transparency and trust; there is a distinct lack of clarity in our current voting process. When a voter casts a paper ballot in a polling place, how does she fundamentally know that her vote was properly submitted and tallied? In most elections today, even with procedural and legislative support, paper trails are not worth the paper they are printed on.
In consequential governmental elections, a more transparent and publicly-verifiable process is needed. Ultimately, a method that is independently and easily verifiable by election management bodies, trusted independent authorities, and individually by each voter, is the only true solution to push democratic decision making towards greater dependability, accuracy, and accountability while restoring the trust of those participating.
The full protocol can be accessed at: https://github.com/votem/proof-of-vote/
LEARN MORE ABOUT:
With Votem, secure online voter registration is easier than ever for voters and election organizers.
Whether you’re 10 or 10,000 miles away, Votem is the most verifiable and safest way to cast your vote.
Voting is now more accessible to millions of citizens traveling, studying, or serving overseas.
Learn why Votem uses blockchain for voting and how it is used to power the world’s most trusted and secure online voting system.