In Wednesday’s meeting between Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Republican senators from the Pennsylvania legislature about potential voter fraud in the state, one state senator suggested blockchain as a potential cure for the type of voter fraud being alleged. A company called VOATZ has the technology to do this and was mentioned by name.
Blockchain is the secret sauce that keeps bitcoin working. Each new bitcoin transaction is encrypted as a new link in the chain, which is distributed to numerous sites. If anyone tries to change a link in the blockchain, everyone who stores the bitcoin blockchain knows it, so the fraud is detected and removed.
The beauty of blockchain is that trust is assured among people who might not intrinsically trust each other. The fact that blockchain transactions are stored at numerous sites forces honesty because the system can detect change without directly revealing of the contents of a link.
Similarly, individual votes can be stored as links on, say, a VOATZ blockchain. All political parties and poll officials can store the entire voter blockchain and be immediately made aware of any attempts to change votes. Any change can be detected without revealing voter identity. The blockchain makes auditing and recounts straightforward.
The encryption for each link in a blockchain is unbreakable. Breaches in blockchains like bitcoin are almost always due to human error. (Ever been phished?)
This said, there will never be a voting system totally immune from fraud. The goal is to make undetected fraud difficult and therefore rare as possible.
Like me, you probably have thought about ways that voter blockchain can be gamed. VOATZ addresses a number of these questions on its website. Although no voter system is totally fraudproof, the use of blockchain in voting would remove many of the controversies we see today in the 2020 presidential election.
If you have watched the television series like CSI or NCIS, you know that technology makes it harder today to get away with crimes than crimes of yesteryear. Vetted technology needs applied to make the same improvement in the detection of voter fraud.
Here is a look at how blockchain works, using the troubled diamond industry as an illustration:
You may also enjoy these articles, which provide a brief introduction to blockchain technology, using bitcoin as an illustration:
How bitcoin works. The social value of trust. Bitcoin is widely touted to be a “trustless” system. No player in the system needs to trust any other player. All of the transactions are verifiable. (Jonathan Bartlett)
How do bitcoins work, anyway? And what’s their future? A roundup for non-geeks.