Overview

Voting hasn’t changed much. People still have to fill out paper ballots, and those ballots are still counted by people.

Could blockchain revolutionise this process?

Taking Voting Paperless 🙅‍♂️📋

It’s the 21st century, there’s no real need to have people queue at polling booths to cast their votes. There have been some innovations in the space, like eVoting machines. But while these electronic voting booths do away with the paper, they are vulnerable to attack.

At a 2017 hackathon at Def Con Las Vegas, it took exactly one hour and twenty minutes for a hacker to gain complete remote control of the most popular voting machine used in the United States. 😈

What happens when you bring blockchain into the mix? Votem, a new startup is trying to do just that.

How it works 🎛️

Votem is using blockchain to make it possible for people to cast their vote from almost anywhere in the world, directly from a mobile phone.

Unlike Bitcoin Ethereum which both have public blockchains, Votem has created a private one. They call it CastIron Mobile Voting Platform. 🔒

This private blockchain means verification of a vote and a voter can be assigned and controlled by trusted parties, governments or international electoral monitoring organisations.

Once set up, users can sign up to vote via an app or web browser on their phone. This would connect to a government list like a drivers’ license or social security number and verify the user instantly.

As votes are cast, each validator or node can count the vote in real-time. Every vote that is proven to be accurate is permanently written onto the Votem platform, which can’t be changed.

While voting in national elections take hours, days and even weeks, on the Votem network it can be done in minutes!

“With nearly 5 billion mobile phone users across the globe, this is not just about convenience; it’s also about making voting more accessible to populations that have historically low rates of voter turnout, like young people. And in countries where elections are marked by violence and intimidation at polling stations, being able to vote from the comfort of your home can keep people safe.” Pete Martin, founder of Votem

The benefits 👍

  • 💵Low cost - no more polling stations
  • 📁Better records - the records are stored on the blockchain, no need for paper
  • 🏃‍♂️Portable - the election comes to the people, rather than the other way round
  • 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦Higher voter registration - a lower barrier of entry can help increase participation
  • 🔒Security - harder to tamper or change
  • 👐Accessibility - overseas voters can now play a greater role in elections far from home

The results so far 📈

In a recent pilot they ran in the United States, an auditing firm that was verifying election results was able to certify the election 20 minutes after voting was completed. This is a process that normally takes weeks.

Blockchain gives people the ability to verify irrefutably that their vote was tallied as they cast it.”

In 2017, Votem became certified to participate in the U.S. Federal Election Assistance Commission’s Voting System & Testing Certification Program.

The future 🔮

Votem has made the protocol its voting system is based on open-source, allowing anyone to provide feedback on the system and spread its use.

All being well, voting could soon be something you do from the comfort of your own home. That gets our vote!