On March 4, 2021, the Government Blockchain Association (GBA) hosted an event called Blockchain & Voting. During that event, it became crystal clear that there were several opposing perspectives concerning remote accessible digital ballots, markings, and returns. A vigorous debate arose regarding the pros and cons of remote digital voting methods compared with other remote voting methods.
Following the debate, the GBA invited all members of the discussion to collaboratively perform an apples-to-apples comparison of various remote voting return methods.
After over a year of collaboration, the participants are ready to share their findings. Additional experts, not part of the original panel, also joined the discussion. Together, the community produced the following report.
This report provides legislators, election officials, voters, and other stakeholders with a balanced analysis of the capabilities, security, and risks of the currently available Remote Ballot Return Methods. The report compares the functionality and security of remote ballot methods. It also includes the following sections:
- Section 1 describes the motivation, methodology, and output of the study
- Section 2 describes the seven methods of remote ballot return with workflow diagrams
- Section 3 describes the key functional characteristics of comparison
- Section 4 presents the functionality matrix comparing the identified Methods of Remote Ballot Return
- Section 5 describes the key security characteristics of comparison
- Section 6 presents the security matrix comparing the identified Methods of Remote Ballot Return (followed by endnotes)
- Appendix A is a Glossary of terms
- Appendix B is a set of endnotes that elaborate on the security comparison
The goal of this report is to support the Local Election Official (LEO) in understanding the risks and benefits associated with the various methods of return to inform their decisions. Download the Remote Election Technology Report.
At the same time, the GBA submitted a draft report to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for consideration in their next version of the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines. This is important because the current version of the VVSG used by laboratories to certify election systems does not allow for connections to the internet. Consequently, blockchain-based voting systems can not be certified for national elections. Updates to the document are needed to incorporate the advances in blockchain technology so that election systems may be able to be secured with advancements made since the document was originally published.
The next project will consist of developing next-generation standards for blockchain-based voting standards. This includes the full lifecycle of the election process, containing before, during the election window, and after the election for the tabulation and reporting of election results.
We Want To Hear From Elections Experts
GBA is a collaborative organization that seeks input from election officials and experts. If you would like to participate in this project, please send an email to gerard.dache@GBAglobal.org.
Join National & State Level Elections Experts At Our Next Event
On September 29-30, the Government Blockchain Association will host Blockchain & Infrastructure. As part of that event, we will hear from a former US National Security Council member responsible for election security, along with global, national, state & local technology & elections experts. We will be discussing Resilient Election Systems. The panel will include the CIO from the State of Maryland, a County Commissioner that has implemented blockchain voting for presidential elections, and technology vendors. This event is free for civil servants and very affordable for the private sector. Any individual with a passion to bring integrity and transparency to elections is invited and encouraged to attend. Tickets are available at https://gbaglobal.org/blockchain-infrastructure/tickets.