Counos X Election System
Blockchain is built upon a consensus and a transparent, tamper-proof infrastructure. Since there is no central authority in this infrastructure, and given the fact that this system is tamper-proof and transparent, series of laws can be defined in it.
Also, with the help of this system, many general activities can be managed and organized.
In today’s societies, many fundamental decisions are made based on the general public’s choice. Decision makings that reflect the choice of the majority in the form of local or country-wide elections. However, this process is heavily questioned and undermined in societies without transparent regulatory systems and prominent democratic mechanisms.
As such, in the recent years when Blockchain have come to the fore in technology, many different ways have been proposed to implement it in election systems.
A fair and transparent election should have the following criteria:
- It must be held freely – with regard to options to choose from and the freedom of choice
- Everyone eligible for voting should be able to participate
- Transparent voting and counting process
- Voters’ votes should remain anonymous
- Fast results with high precision
- Results should be unchangeable
Perhaps other criteria could be added to this list. But as it can be seen, some of these criteria relate to the organization of the election, and some of them relate to the voting and counting mechanisms.
At first, a Blockchain-based election system would not show prominence in organizing the election (the first two items in the list above). But in the criteria related to the voting and counting processes, many reliable methods can be defined.
- Using a Blockchain-based system, an election can be defined as a smart contract. In this contract, different choices can be identified with a unique address. Votes will be provided to voters in the form of a certain source (for example a certain number of coins from a certain source).
- Voters can cast their vote by transferring their balance (or right to vote) to the account of their chosen candidate or choice by scanning their address.
- This transfer will be recorded in the Blockchain and will be counted after a certain number of block confirmations.
- At the end of the voting process, the accounts whose balance comes from the predefined source specified in the smart contract will determine the chosen candidate or option.
This is a simple definition of a Blockchain-based election process. What this structure offers is the following:
- Transparency: all the votes (transactions) of a candidate can be seen in real time and in a transparent way. Voters can make sure of their vote by looking at their transaction in their chosen candidate’s account.
- Confidentiality: even though it is transparent which accounts have voted to their chosen candidate, but it will not be divulged who has cast the vote.
- Quick results: results can be seen in real time, and this matter does not require separate operations.
- Being unchangeable: the structure of Blockchain does not allow for easy changes to be made. Any change will nullify the entire chain.
But can any Blockchain network be used to launch an election system?
More challenges must be considered in this system and a solution must be offered for them.
- Voters’ demographic: since most of the general Blockchain networks, that are used for cryptocurrencies, have a limited capacity in each block for processing transactions, and most of the available space is already filled with ordinary transactions, it would not be possible to use networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
- Given the size of the voting community, the network should have the capacity to process few million transactions in a day. In other words, to receive 10 million votes, 278 transaction should be recorded each second. If we want to prepare the system for the peak influx of votes, it should be ready to cover about 1000 transactions each second. And this volume of transactions is not compatible with the power of most Blockchain networks available.
- Public Blockchain networks do not guarantee that the sent transaction will be recorded in the first available block. Given the network’s traffic, the transaction fee, and perhaps other defining parameters, the time of a transaction being recorded in a block can vary. This is considered a challenge for an operation that needs to take place and finish at certain times.
- As it was mentioned at the beginning, organizing an election will include determining candidates, verifying the identity of voters, preventing duplicate votes, and preventing fake voters. Additionally as mentioned, the proposed method does not provide viable solutions for these challenges. Therefore, current conventional structures need to authenticate these matters.
- The 51-percent attacks that can be organized as a result of enforced power on the network can be very detrimental and destructive. Since elections are considered very critical for any country, then the probability of such attacks from authorities would rise.