- Many vulnerabilities in using blockchain-based electronic voting systems.
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) managed to tackle well.
- Remote voting gained some popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ECI would do well to exercise caution before deploying this method in elections.
In India, the electronic voting system amassed intense scrutiny over its massive use. This is due to the fact that the standalone single-chip device is not connected to any network. In addition, Audit-ability was added to the process, after the addition of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to the EVM.
On the other hand, the machine suffered glitches, but the Election Commission of India (ECI) managed to tackle the problem well. In order to make the EVM robust, ECI should seek solutions to avoid malpractices like ballot stuffing and booth capturing.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora further explained that the ECI is commencing trials of a remote voting project. The project is being developed by IIT-Madras, with a blockchain-based method for “two-way remote voting” at designated centers.
Moreover, remote voting gained some popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to address social distancing. In addition, the blockchain method implements an online public bulletin board that allows linear ordering of information to which users can only further append data.
In the case of a blockchain-based voting system, the voting authority will authenticate the bulletin board in which users sign in using cryptographic signatures to register their votes in a ledger.
Meanwhile, the cryptographic features promise data security and verifiability. The fact that it will depend upon a network and devices could introduce vulnerabilities that are available in any internet-based system.
In November 2020, a draft paper by MIT and Harvard researchers raised concerns about a remote blockchain-based voting system’s designs. The research pointed to serious vulnerabilities in some cases where it has been rolled out. The paper also points out that the ECI would exercise caution before deploying this method in elections.