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Voting over a distributed ledger: An interdisciplinary perspective

Research output: Working paper

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020

Publication series

NameFoundations and Trends in Microeconomics
PublisherNow Publishers Inc
ISSN (Print)1547-9854

King's Authors

Abstract

[This article has been invited for submission to FnT Microeconomics]: This work discusses the potential of a blockchain based infrastructure for a decentralised online voting platform. When compared to paper based voting, online voting can vastly increase the speed that votes can be counted, expand the overall accessibility of the election system and decrease the cost of turnout. Yet despite these advantages, online voting for political office is subject to fraud at various levels due to its centralised nature. In this paper, we describe a general architecture of a centralised online voting system and detail which areas of such a system are vulnerable to electoral fraud. We then proceed to introduce the key ideas underlying blockchain technology as a decentralised mechanism that can address these problems. We discuss the advantages and weaknesses of the blockchain technology, the protocols the technology uses and what criteria a good blockchain protocol should satisfy (depending on the voting application). We argue that the decentralisation inherent in the blockchain technology could increase the public’s trust in national elections, as well as eliminate voter impersonation and double voting. We conclude with a discussion regarding how economists and social scientists can collaborate with the blockchain community in a research agenda on the design of efficient blockchain protocols and new voting systems such as liquid democracy.

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