New Delhi: Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has unveiled prototype of a new voting machine with Blockchain technology that works alongside an online election system so that all votes – whether cast at polling stations or on personal devices – are transmitted and processed together in a secure way.
Polys, a project from the Kaspersky Innovation Hub developing a secure online voting platform for businesses, universities and political parties, unveiled a prototype of its new Polys Voting Machine.
“As we see from our Polys platform, e-voting allows more possibilities for remote participation and even increasing turnout of younger people,” Roman Aleshkin, head of product at Polys, said in a statement.
Online voting brings a number of benefits, like the ability to vote remotely; automatically calculate results; ease logistical challenges, and provide centralized process management.
This gives election participants a choice of how to vote, whilst ensuring election organisers can introduce a secure online voting option with guaranteed privacy.
The Polys Voting Machine has been created to work on distributed ledger technology.
This means that all vote information is stored in a decentralized manner on several blockchain nodes.
This is how it works.
To use one of the machines, voters would need to authenticate themselves with documents to prove their identity.
They would receive a unique QR code (or other tokens), which is not known by anyone except for the voter.
After scanning it with a special device, he or she can select an option on a display on the Polys Voting Machine.
Via this QR code, a person can also check on a special web application that his or her vote was registered in the blockchain, but their name and choice will not be stored in the blockchain, to prevent tracing it to a specific individual.
An access code can also be associated to an election in a specific area, said the company.
This means that when voting, the citizen is only shown representatives for their local election even if they are at a polling station located in another region.
To allow audits and recounts, a special Polys Printer can be connected to this distributed ledger providing an accurate paper trail.
This device is located at the head office of the regional election team and issues a paper ballot once a decision is made.
The voting machines can be interconnected with the Polys online voting platform across a single blockchain system.
“This means they share one voter register which eliminates the possibility of a voter casting his or her vote twice, using different options,” the company added.
As a result, tech-savvy users can vote securely from their smartphone or device using the online version, while those who prefer to visit the polling station can cast their votes on a Polys Voting Machine – with all votes automatically encrypted and counted.
However, moving voting online can pose a barrier for people who are not habitual users of smartphones or laptops, or those who simply prefer casting their vote in person at a polling station.
Another challenge is enabling a secret ballot to happen without revealing a person’s decision, whilst at the same time providing the ability for voters to check if their votes were counted, said the company.