Blockchain voting

GS-2 POLIY: Election Commission-Electoral Reforms

Introduction

        Democratic voting is a crucial and serious event in any country.The Election Commission of India has the idea of further digitising the electoral infrastructure of the country.

        Digital voting are sometimes referred to as e-voting when voting using a machine in a polling station, and i-voting when using a web browser.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/Dc4xRrcjLNvjwAS77t27Owh8F7MHcm5U2RAob4GWXqVj_8prYYLWJo3UnLy-UG3XEUYWxMPv2GFaXU6JRjJlnvxsWVAX4HmzWVduh_KzJ0CcwoDGAiunrIJHja5pPYEzkqyPkrq3

Recent News:

       The Election Commission held an online conference in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (“TNeGA”) and IIT Madras, using blockchain technology for the purpose of enabling remote elections.

Blockchain Technology:

  • is a distributed ledger of information.
  • is replicated across various nodes on a “peer-to-peer” network.
  • ensuring integrity and verifiability of data stored.
  • is upcoming & niche technology.
  • Can be adopted in fields of 
    • Health
    • Finance
    • Agriculture
    • Defence
    • Communication
  • Can aid the government in implementing various programmes.

traditionally been used as supporting structures for cryptocurrencies.(Bitcoin,Ethereum)

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/jhfVOCBEbq_lVMssn9bwzUW9zh_U72H2hJvdKl4SYhODpEshIdzLB3rI9KHGmFJVIIiCkE1oABfTL6nJAZ-aMhhSt-kYGxypnYXboVaoRSleXvXNG9toH2xf8zG3DOHYJXWsyVef

Benefits in Election Process:

  • remote voting(Eg:Indian armed forces serving places like Siachen Glacier)
  • internal migrants
  • seasonal workers

(account for roughly 51 million(census 2011),exercising their democratic right of voting.)

Key Issues/Concerns:

  • The system envisioned by the Election Commission-only slightly more acceptable than a fully remote, app-based voting system(few low-level elections in the West).
  • An event held by the Election Commission, then Senior Deputy Election Commissioner-
    • explained electors to physically reach a designated venue
    • used white-listed IP devices on dedicated internet lines
    • that the system would make use of the biometric attributes of electors.
  • Digitisation and interconnectivity-additional points of failure external to the processes.
  • Proper implementation of cryptographic protocols.
  • Might stand to potentially unmask the identity and voting preferences of electors.
  • allow an individual to cast a vote as someone else.
  • Physical presence and biometric authentication may not necessarily make a remote voting system invulnerable to attacks.
  • Be able to clone the biometric attributes.
  • Physical implants or software backdoors-allow attackers to collect and deduce voting choices.
  • Infrastructure less prone to outages.
  • Increasingly prone to targeted Denial-of-Service attacks 
    • block traffic
    • preventing
    • delaying the registration of votes
  • Hypothesised system are disclosed.
  • Exclude and disenfranchise certain individuals due to
    • flaws in interdependent platforms
    • flaws in system design
    • general failures caused by external factors
  • Operation of a system are prone to possible malfunction.
  • Technological solutions-poses a threat and could stand to hinder free and fair elections in the future.

Way Forward

  • Ballot portability
  • Technological solutions which involve setting up entirely new.
  • Postal ballots
  • Proxy voting

Conclusion

       Further digitization, in itself, does not make processes more robust.Any solution to electoral problems must be software independent and fault tolerable, where failure or tampering of one mechanism or several would not affect the integrity or transparency of the overall process.

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