A Blockchain-Based Voting System for Which Patent Protection is Being Sought May be the Answer for Future Elections

By Jeffrey M. Kaden

Can twenty-first century technology solve the problems of our current voting system?  Can twenty-first century technology ensure that mail-in voting is trusted by everyone? A new patent filing says YES.

For almost all Americans, it has been a strained and draining two weeks – and, unfortunately, the 2020 election epic is still not over. Joe Biden was declared President-elect ten plus days ago by most news organizations and in his victory speech shortly thereafter, asked for unity and healing after an acrimonious election that acutely divided the citizenship. Meanwhile, President Trump has chosen not to concede and has moved forward with a number of legal challenges against the election results; his campaign has filed lawsuits in several states and has requested recounts in those state where the races were close.

One of the biggest issues revolving around the presidential election was the amount of mail-in voting and the delays in reporting its results. Donald Trump complained repeatedly, both before and after election, about the supposed problems with mail-in voting, that proper procedures were not followed in several jurisdictions and that this in turn has led to election fraud.  Joe Biden was presumably also concerned going into the election as mail-in ballots are more easily subject to disappearance and error; because many more Democrats voted by mail than Republicans, Joe Biden could have actually lost votes.

However legitimate the concerns are with the extensive use of mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election, by the time the next Presidential election takes place, it would behoove both Democrats and Republicans alike that these concerns be addressed.

Surprisingly, the post office, yes the post office, may have already in fact done so. They have apparently come up with a technological solution that has a good chance of allaying everyone’s apprehensions.

The United States Postal Service recently filed a patent application directed to a mail-in voting system that utilizes Blockchain and other technologies for verification. The application was published this past August and states the following:

This development relates to a voting system that also incorporates the use of cryptographic elements, such as blockchains, as are used with cryptographic currencies, to track and secure the vote by mail system.

The published application details the proposed blockchain voting system’s framework, which is supported by two separate databases, and which utilizes electronic signatures and ballot codes, with a mobile voting component.

The patent application description adds:

A voting system can use the security of blockchain and the mail to provide a reliable voting system. A registered voter receives a computer-readable code in the mail and confirms identity and confirms correct ballot information in an election. The system separates voter identification and votes to ensure vote anonymity, and stores votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.

This innovative technology would send out QR codes and store digital IDs and votes on the blockchain. It would also segregate ID from the votes themselves in order to preserve voter confidentiality. And it could even allow voters to print out a confirmation of their votes, of course based on the equipment used to cast their ballots — PCs, tablets, smart phones, etc.

The technology does appear to be promising for future presidential elections. As described in the published application, the invention is described as a voting system that can use the security of blockchain and the mail to provide a reliable voting system.  Indeed, a blockchain system would presumably allow for the voting process in future elections to be more streamlined as well as more secure. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, that certainly seems to make sense.