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Blockchain Technology in Voting

  Sep 10, 2020

Blockchain Technology in Voting

Q. Why is this in news?

A.  Election Commission (EC) officials are exploring the potential of using blockchain technology to enable remote voting. The aim is to overcome the geographical hurdles in voting especially even amidst this pandemic. 

Remote voting may take place in person somewhere other than an assigned polling station or at another time, or votes may be sent by post or cast by an appointed proxy.

Q. What is Blockchain Technology?

  • Blockchain is a system in which the database of recordings (a ‘chain’) appears on multiple computers at the same time even as it is updated with any new digital information (‘a block’).
  • It offers a singular combination of permanent and tamper-evident record keeping, real-time transaction transparency and auditability.
  • The initial and primary use of blockchain technology was for monitoring cryptocurrency (e.g. bitcoin) transactions. 

However, other usage and applications have emerged in the last few years.

Q. What is the need of Blockchain Technology in Voting?

  • Growing concern over election security, voter registration integrity, poll accessibility, and voter turnout has led governments to consider blockchain-based voting platforms as a means to increase faith and participation in essential democratic processes.
  • Electronic voting has been used in varying forms since the 1970s with fundamental benefits over paper based systems such as increased efficiency and reduced errors. At present, the feasibility of blockchain is being explored for effective e-voting.
  • Even the EC had used a one-way electronic system for service electors (consisting of personnel belonging to the armed forces, central para military forces and central government officers deployed at Indian missions abroad) i.e. Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
  • Blockchain’s decentralized, transparent, immutable, and encrypted qualities could potentially help minimize election tampering and maximize poll accessibility.

Q. What is its possible Working procedure?

  • A blockchain remote voting process would involve voter identification and authorisation using a multi-layered IT enabled system (with the help of biometrics and web cameras) at the venue.
  • After a voter's identity is established by the system, a blockchain enabled personalised e-ballot paper (Smart Contract) will be generated.
  • When the vote is cast (Smart Contract executed), the ballot would be securely encrypted and a block chain hashtag (#) will be generated. This hashtag notification would be sent to various stakeholders i.e. the candidates and political parties.