US may use Ethereum for blockchain voting system

A patent filed by the USPS reveals that Ethereum has been highlighted as a potential platform for the new voting system

Image of a US Postal Service van
To ensure that all the votes remain anonymous, the system stores voter identification and their votes in separate locations

It is revealed that the proposed United States Postal Service’s (USPS) blockchain-based mail-in voting system may be built on the Ethereum platform.

The USPS recently filed a patent for the blockchain-based voting system and eagle-eyed netizens were quick to highlight that it specifically highlights Ethereum as one of the potential foundations for the system.

The public patent application contains 47 pages and is filled with diagrams that demonstrate the components that are to be used in the proposed mail-in voting system, alongside each stage of the electronic process.

The patent explains that under the blockchain voting system, a registered voter is sent a computer-readable code in the mail. This code is what confirms their identity as well as the correct ballot information during the election.

To ensure that all the votes remain anonymous, the system stores voter identification and their votes in separate locations. Votes, in particular, will be kept on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.

“Often a voter is not able to or does not desire to go to a polling place to cast a vote. An election official in a jurisdiction may wish to send secure ballots via mail. Or, a jurisdiction may opt to utilize electronic resources for voting. In such cases, a secure voting system is desired,” the patent explained.

The document believes that such a voting system will be secure because it incorporates the dependability and security of the USPS, as well as the support of a secure computer system that is implementing a blockchain or distributed ledger technology. This would prevent the tampering of modification of electronic voting results, thereby ensuring the security of the citizen’s votes.

The US is not the only country that is looking into the use of blockchain technology to refine their voting process. India is also conducting research on the possibility of using blockchain technology to help encourage residents across the country to vote.

The need for a voting system that has incorporated elements of blockchain and distributed ledger technology have, in significant part, been brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It is believed that adopting a new voting system would encourage voters to participate in the election process without putting them at undue risk. This is because overcrowding at government offices and voting centres could lead to increased likelihood of transmitting the coronavirus disease, particularly for at-risk groups such as children and the elderly.