MIT: Electronic Voting Needs More Decentralization to Protect Ballots

The pandemic has forced many companies to digitize their operations. It has also brought electronic voting to the forefront, especially in the United States, which is facing an election year.

According to a June 7 article by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Michigan. OmniBallot, Democracy Live’s popular e-voting platform, is vulnerable to vote tampering. Many states have tried to use OmniBallot, which uses Amazon Web Services to register votes, but have faced security problems. More decentralized online voting is part of the solution to protect privacy, researchers say.

Online voting is not secure even with blockchain, says the U.S. Association.

End-to-end encryption plays a key role

The researchers believe that a decentralized approach in which a voter does not need to rely on a specific device, software or official election servers is essential for secure remote voting.

As a solution, the researchers proposed an end-to-end encryption protocol, such as cryptographic E2E-V. They say that this protocol would allow each voter to independently verify that their vote was recorded and correctly included in the election result. They point out that:

„While experts believe that E2E-V should be a requirement for any Internet voting system, they warn that“ no Internet voting system of any kind should be used for public elections before verifiable end-to-end voting systems have been implemented and tested repeatedly until experience has been gained in their use.

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Vulnerability of the voting platform

The studies found that the Bitcoin Storm platform’s simplified web-based approach and its extensive use of third-party services and infrastructure is jeopardizing voters‘ privacy and the accuracy of their votes.

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OmniBallot is not supposed to seek a decentralized solution. The protocol it uses does not allow anyone the ability to verify the accuracy of the ballot sections. This opens the door for cyber criminals to gain control of the platform and change the recorded votes without anyone noticing.

As reported by Cointelegraph earlier, the U.S. Congress is considering the development of an end-to-end encryption blockchain-based system to allow remote voting in the Senate.