Community development, Education and research

Change starts from the palm of your hand

The foundation of a democratic society is laid by its voting mechanism. By enforcing direct democracy, every individual is given a tool to have their voice heard - and that voice cannot be altered.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Ivan Šoštarko

Institut za istraživanje blockchain tehnologija

https://e-referendum.eu/

Croatia

Idea

Idea pitch

Imagine a voting system so fast that the results are delivered in real-time and so immutable that it is resistant to any kind of alterations. Blockchain is the only existing technology that enables end-to-end verifiability in elections. By creating the possibility of voting via the mobile app on the island of Brač, active citizenship awakens and the growth of this community is undeniable. Decision-making becomes decentralized, transparent, and secure.

Where will your project idea take place?

Brač, Croatia’s third biggest island with a population of 14,400 people, whose average age is 45 yrs

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The traditional voting/election system encounters several problems when managed by one organization that has full control over the system and database, therefore the organization can tamper with the database, and the traces of these changes can easily be eliminated. The solution is to make the database records public, and the database owned by many users, which is useful to compare if there are any discrepancies. The vote count can verify that no data has been altered or deleted nor is there any unauthorized data entered in the blockchain. By ensuring citizens that their voices will be heard and their vote counted, a rise in civic engagement is expected. Referendums are made simple and accessible to everyone, especially the elder population, who are now connected with applied technology.

Who are you doing it for?

We are providing a tool for independent individuals looking to make a palpable change by making local decisions. We are giving them the possibility to solve issues fast and efficiently. The nature of the blockchain ensures that votes are transparent, seen by all, and can be counted by anybody. The simple fraud of tampering with a ballot, stuffing the ballot box, and disappearing votes are impossible. This will be especially appealing to those citizens who do not trust the current election system. We are also doing it for people who want to be civically engaged, but do not have access to regular polls, either because of geographical distance, the fear of the pandemic, or any other reason. This way of voting supports social distancing, which is incredibly important to the elder population.

How do you plan to get there?

Generally speaking, blockchain acts as a reliable third party to securely share, mediate exchange and provide secure computing machines. For its security, transparency, and immutability, it is the perfect solution to the problems current voting systems face. For example, traditional voting systems allow corrupt governments to invent voters, obstruct citizens from registering, even register deceased people, and make it possible for people to pretend to vote as multiple individuals. However, with progressively more online information and two-factor authentication, finding and preventing such fraud becomes easier. Blockchain technology is the solution to the problems that occur in the electoral system. Blockchain is decentralized, time-stamped, and the entire recording is available for all users. This eliminates the need for central authorities, such as banks or trusted intermediaries. Blockchain uses cryptography and digital signatures to prove identity. The nature of the blockchain ensures that votes are seen by all and can be counted by anybody. The software which will be used to vote digitally has already been developed by our Institut, and it is ready to use. However, the general public must be made aware of this technology, via marketing, consulting, advertisements, training, etc. Citizens will become accustomed to the idea of voting remotely.

What are the expected results?

Elections have great power in determining the fate of a nation or an organization. The most visible result of this project would be an increased number of local referendums organized by individuals who live on the island. The people of Brač will be identified by their existing e-citizen account provided by the government agency. The European Union allows blockchain-based e-referendums. The problems which occur in the traditional electoral systems are resolved by blockchain technology. Voting is simplified, transparent, and accessible to everyone, especially to those who have been excluded from previous elections because of their age, health, distance from the polling station, or any other reason. Everyone has the privilege to change their life for the better from the comfort of their own h

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The foundation of a democratic society is laid by its voting mechanism. By implementing blockchain technology in the electoral system, direct democracy is made possible. Getting involved in making decisions regarding local issues is radically simplified, and everyone has the same predisposition to change their community for the better. The interests of the citizens are directly represented by their votes, without the need for representatives. Blockchain uses cryptography and digital signatures to prove identity, it is verifiable and it makes the voting transparent and safe. Regarding the question of anonymity, verifiable ballot anonymization grants complete privacy to each voter, all while seeing their ballot on the blockchain.

Why is this idea important to you?

Brač holds a special place in all of our hearts. Countless summers have been spent on the rocky beaches of this Mediterranean oasis. We couldn’t help but wonder - during summer everything seems so idyllic, but this cannot be the case after the tourists leave. Just a scratch under the surface showed numerous issues and a strong urge to fix them. Local activists share a common need to help their community, and blockchain voting makes it possible for everyone to start a change. Our team has experience with IT, blockchain technology, tourism, and most importantly, the societal challenges faced by the people of Brač. Our wish is to provide them the tool to make the changes they need, not dictate the changes ourselves. Blockchain voting is a vessel for the citizens to further their ideas.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

2800 EUR - travel and accommodation expenses
6000 EUR - cloud servers
18000 EUR - social media, and offline promotion
5000 EUR - staff expenses, administration, project management
3200 EUR - workshops

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Have you ever heard of issues caused by the traditional voting systems in your country? Do you have an idea where blockchain voting could be implemented? Let us know your thoughts about the concept of voting securely, transparently, and from the comfort of your own home!

Team

iibt

Idea created on April 22, 2021

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