How to use a Blockchain to Prevent Election Rigging

Last Wednesday, after a mid-term election that noticed extra voters than any earlier mid-term in additional than 50 years, defeated unbiased candidate Tim Canova posted a video to his Twitter account. The video, shot by a involved citizen, seems to present election officers driving up of their private automobiles and placing provisional paper ballots into a rented field truck. Each of the alleged election officers who delivered the votes to the truck arrived alone, with out a second particular person to watch the method, as required by regulation.

The video itself is telling. Taking place after the polls had been closed and darkness had descended, it definitely appears to be like like one thing shady is happening. The involved citizen who shot the video may be heard saying “I don’t think that’s right.” She is probably going echoing the ideas viewers had as they watched the video.

For political junkies, the video was a surprising reminder of how fragile the credibility of even paper ballots may be. But the placement the place the video was shot, shocked nobody.


The video comes from Broward county. One of the counties the place Tim Canova misplaced, by a massive margin, to Debbie Wasserman Shultz. It additionally occurs to be the identical county the place Brenda Snipes is in command of guaranteeing a secure and honest election, and he or she has constructed a fame for having points ensuring that occurs.

In 2016, Canova was working towards Shultz for the primary time, that point in a major. Shultz gained nationwide infamy when she was pressured to resign her place because the DNC’s chair after it was revealed that the Hillary Clinton marketing campaign controlled the finances of the occasion and exerted that affect to assist her marketing campaign on the expense of Bernie Sanders’. But when Shultz gained towards Canova, he requested to take a look at the ballots, as is his proper. Snipes tried to cost his marketing campaign tens of hundreds of {dollars} for that privilege. Canova opened up a lawsuit.

And then Snipes licensed the destruction of the ballots, towards a federal court order telling her not to. She signed the folder, indicating that there have been no open lawsuits relating to these votes. Additionally, she licensed the destruction of them a full 12 months earlier than they need to have been, even with out the lawsuit. She claimed that the destruction was a mistake.

A federal decide dominated the destruction unlawful and said that a dismissal of Snipes could be acceptable. But Governor Rick Scott declined to.

In addition, Broward county has consistently been one of many final precincts within the nation to rely its votes since Snipes took over the place in 2003, regardless of getting a three hour head begin over the west coast states.

So that the video of the questionable poll transportation occurred in Broward county, below Brenda Snipes’ watch, shocked completely nobody that was paying consideration. And now, lame-duck Governor Rick Scott, who misplaced a intently contested Senatorial bid, is suing none apart from Brenda Snipes, over attainable election fraud. Even President Trump bought concerned, tweeting out that it was a humiliation for the nation and “election theft”. And Friday afternoon, she was ordered by a decide to instantly enable the viewing and copying of all ballots in query.

I not often agree with the President, however it’s onerous not to take a look at the video, contemplating Shultz and Snipes’ historical past and never assume one thing is happening.

There had been different accusations of election rigging in Georgia as properly. Along with lengthy traces and the fixed fear that the voting machines are lower than safe.

Blockchain is the answer for all of this. And the answer wouldn’t be onerous to construct or troublesome for the typical voter to use. All we’d like are open-source voting machines that may generate keys and an open blockchain that anybody can use to confirm and add transactions (votes) to.

Imagine this, you go to a polling station and see a few workers working there. They ask on your title and examine it towards the voter rolls. You give it and so they offer you your poll. You go and fill it out in a sales space. So far, every thing is because it usually is.

Then, the pc asks you to create a password of a minimum of eight digits. You enter one and it makes use of that password and your voter roll data to create a key or “voter number”. Then you slide your poll into the machine, it uploads your vote to the voter blockchain and it offers you the related voter quantity (key) to your votes. You can then go browsing, go to the federal government run blockexplorer (or a third occasion various) search for your voter quantity and be sure that your vote was counted appropriately. No one would give you the chance to inform who you voted for except you revealed that voter quantity was related to you. And if you happen to seen an irregularity, you’d give you the chance to use your private data and password to show that’s your voting quantity.

Eventually, customers would give you the chance to skip the voting sales space altogether and easily vote from residence utilizing their private laptop or mobile phone. But that may require folks to maintain observe of personal keys fairly than producing them on the polling station. So for now, the most secure method to do it’s a hybrid between our present system and a completely digital one. One the place the important thing pair is generated on web site and hashed from voter roll data plus a easy password, fairly than via random inputs.

It wouldn’t be completely secure from say, an election official producing dozens of voter numbers for voters who didn’t present up to the polls in any respect. But with the normal oversight that stops poll stuffing proper now, that shouldn’t be a drawback. There is a purpose votes are extra generally destroyed than generated and that’s as a result of it’s almost not possible for a person working at a polling station to submit a number of ballots with out everybody else within the room noticing. If it turned a drawback, we may make it so the bottom line is generated while you register to vote, stopping anybody from falsifying a vote. Though that may add some complexity for voters who would then have to bear in mind or retailer a key or password.

With this method, destroying votes could be not possible. It would additionally make recounts a factor of the previous. Since each vote could be counted and obtainable on the blockchain, anybody, wherever may rely them manually or develop their very own script that does it.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true blockchain except it had actual miners. In cryptocurrencies, miners want an incentive that comes within the type of financial rewards. But with voting, the integrity of the election itself could be the reward that secures the chain. Of course each the DNC and RNC would put important sources in ensuring the opposite doesn’t achieve an excessive amount of energy on the voter blockchain, however it must also be open to anybody who needs to be a part of. “Do your patriotic duty and secure our elections with your computer!” a future PSA may say. Anyone, wherever may obtain voter verification software program and run it at residence. If they didn’t belief any obtainable block explorer, they may examine the blockchain that they obtain themselves.

And if that didn’t show to be sufficient incentive, miners could possibly be rewarded with cash that would give them a tax break. Alternatively, we may use an already safe blockchain, like Bitcoin or Ethereum’s, although that will price some taxpayer cash within the type of transaction prices.

The concept of utilizing the blockchain to forestall election rigging and voter fraud isn’t new. Coins, tokens and dApps have been utilizing blockchain voting as a technique of governance for years. And even the thought of placing our elections on the blockchain has been floated prior to now. But I’ve but to see one that’s as easy to use as what I’m proposing now. I lately obtained an e mail about former Coinbase engineer Tanooj Luthra, who’s creating a decentralized utility known as Elph on the Ethereum community. It would allow digital voter IDs and storing votes on the blockchain. That could be an efficient method to do it, however I concern the digital voter IDs could be prone to being misplaced or stolen. Still, it’s good to know somebody is engaged on one thing comparable to my proposal.

Because I’ve neither the coding expertise nor connections to make it myself. I did ask Nathan Wosnack, founder and CEO of Ubitquity, if he thought my proposal was possible. Ubitquity has some expertise on this, as they already add information to blockchains for companies. Not solely did he assume it was, he thought it will be comparatively straightforward.

“That’s actually a really good idea. Truth is, I bet Ubitquity could build something like this as we’re working with an aviation client that only sends us a hash of airplane certificates that we manage and upload to the blockchain of their choice via Ubitquity API.”

He promised not to steal my concept, however I need it stolen. As I mentioned, I can’t create this, however somebody may. And in the event that they did, it will not solely forestall election rigging, election fraud, and recounts, it will elevate blockchain applied sciences within the consciousness of the American folks. If it could actually safe our elections, why not our cash? And then we’d have tens of millions of political junkies, not solely extra involved in bitcoin, however with a much better understanding of it.

I can’t consider something that may be higher for our nation, or the cryptocurrency neighborhood.

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