A blockchain based E-voting system: Is Malta ready?

In every democracy, an election is a matter of national security. The computer security field has for a decade studied the possibilities of electronic voting systems with the goal of minimising the cost of having a national election while fulfilling and increasing the security conditions of an election. From the dawn of democratically electing candidates, the voting system has been based on pen and paper. Replacing the traditional pen and paper scheme with a new election system is critical to limit fraud and having the voting process traceable and verifiable.

The question is if blockchain is the right technology to ensure the right security. Since Malta has been labelled the ‘Blockchain Island’, we should by now know what blockchain is. However, the following is a brief summary.

A blockchain is a distributed, immu­table, incontrovertible public ledger. This new technology works through four main features:

i) The ledger exists in many different locations: there is no single point of failure in the maintenance of the distributed ledger.

ii) There is distributed control over who can append new transactions to the ledger.

iii) Any proposed ‘new block’ to the ledger must reference the previous version of the ledger, creating an immutable chain from where the blockchain gets its name, and thus preventing tampering with the integrity of previous entries.

iv) A majority of the network nodes must reach a consensus before a proposed new block of entries becomes a permanent part of the ledger.

In a blockchain based e-voting system, the following key roles would be identified:

Election administrators: These manage the lifecycle of an election. Multiple trusted institutions and companies are enrolled with this role. The election administrators specify the election type and create the aforementioned election, configurate ballots, register voters, decide the lifetime of the election and assign permissioned nodes.

Voters: For elections to which they are eligible,…

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