“Corruption is the greatest problem of economic development”Roger Myerson -Nobel Literature in Economic Sciences 2007
December 2018 saw the rise of yet another outbreak of violence in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) due to political unrest. Protests against political oppression were met with live rounds and tear gas by the Congolese security forces. Allegedly protesters ransacked an agency office responding to Ebola outbreaks, as well as causing patients to flee from isolation facilities.
Such cases of political violence are not uncommon in developing countries which have partially adopted democratic governance. Governing bodies holding elections are regularly accused of tampering with results, monitoring voting booths and postponing elections. As a result, the population can often retaliate causing significant destruction and civil disorder.
So how does a blockchain voting system come in? Lack of transparency, participation, legitimacy of outcome and tendency for reversal of results are all significant limitations. These all commonly found to hinder democratic processes in developing countries. Simply, blockchain presents a very good case for resolution to these four principle constraints on democracy.
Blockchain voting systems have already been used in the likes of West Virginia for federal general elections. The potential implications of the technology is phenomenal especially when considering the overwhelming lack of trust associated with politics. The notion of placing trust in an election commission can be completely eliminated through the use of a secure, transparent blockchain network.
How could it work?
- Voters register an account with the authentication server, entering their identifying information. Alongside a live picture, which is recognized with facial recognition technology.
- On the day of the election, voters verify their identity by logging into their account to vote – using their login key and facial recognition
- A short video of the person will be taken which will then be verified using technology such as Affectiva API1 which can detect a person’s emotions. If the person displays excessive fear or stress the account will be locked until they vote from a public device.
- Once logged in on the day of the election, users can cast their vote in the form of a voting token deposited to their choice of candidate. A record of the vote will then be recorded on the blockchain.
- The entire system can be placed behind a DAPP (decentralized application) with a user-friendly interface. The DAPP could be accessed for voting by any device with internet and front facing camera capabilities.
The proposed blockchain solution would be able to eliminate democratic corruption by making the entire process transparent on an immutable ledger. The result of the election would therefore be final and trusted. Furthermore, the cost of holding elections can be slashed. The requirement for paper, official counters and booths would be replaced with a simple and reliable digital system which would be impossible to tamper with. Such a system could restore faith in votes for political leaders in developing countries.
Of course, the proposed blockchain system is not a perfect solution and there are many ways in which it could work. It is based on the presumption that all of the population will have access to the internet and a video capable device as well as public facilities with such capabilities. With a consistent increase of world technological adoption, blockchain looks to be a voting system of the future.