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Naples: voting goes on the blockchain

The voting system of the blockchain project for the city of Naples, which since April 2018 has been studying a broad and articulated plan to innovate the municipal system with the help of decentralised distributed systems, is nearing completion.

The details can be found in a Facebook post published by one of the members of the ‘Votazioni Napoli Blockchain’ team.

According to the post, the project aimed at “creating an electronic voting system in symbiosis with blockchain technology”, which excluded from the outset the option of online voting in order to overcome the problem of rigged voting.

The blockchain voting system in Naples is developed on two levels: the regulatory level respecting the privacy of users, also in light of the recent GDPR; the technological level that makes use of various existing information technologies, including the Ethereum blockchain for the immutable recording of voting data.

The post also shows that the “functional specifications of the project” will be published by the end of September 2019, to give everyone the opportunity to study the eVoting system developed by the working group on decentralised electronic voting of the Napoli blockchain project.

Still referring to what was stated in the Facebook post, let’s go into detail about the decentralised electronic voting system.

Respect for privacy

An electronic voting system based on a public blockchain needs, as is well known, to respect the privacy of the electorate vote and to avoid that the vote itself can be associated with the voter.

The software developed has therefore taken into account three important factors related to the confidentiality of the data of the voter:

  1. not to process or elaborate sensitive and personal data of the voter;
  2. complete anonymity for the voter’s vote;
  3. virtualisation of the traditional electoral system.

As far as the first point is concerned, it is resolved by leaving the identification of the voter to the members of the electoral section, thus maintaining the current management of citizen identification. In fact, the vote will take place in the ballot box, as is the case today with paper voting.

Moving on to point two, the association between the timestamp of the voting transaction recorded on the blockchain and the vote expressed by the voter has been resolved with a structured method that will be made known in the technical specifications.

Virtualisation is entrusted to the platform designed by the specialists.

Technological development

The software platform guarantees “a faithful reproduction of the roles and responsibilities assigned to the actors involved, according to the current guidelines of the traditional voting system”.

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And in fact, as can be seen from the screenshots attached to the Facebook post, the entire voting system and even the ballot paper, are very similar to what usually happens in the polling station at the time of voting.

This solution, which does not upset the current voting system, is intended to avoid complex training of the staff of the seat and to make the electorate citizen feel comfortable.

From a strictly technical point of view, the electronic voting system uses the following technologies and web applications:

  1. multilanguage web application realized in PHP and JavaScript, supported by MySql databases;
  2. Ethereum blockchain (Ropsten is being used in this test phase);
  3. eDiscovery to perform the recovery of registered voting transactions on the blockchain and to carry out the election count.
Fabio Carbone
Fabio Carbone
A freelance writer since 2013 he studied computer science, philosophy and also a bit of sociology. In 2016 he discovered the crypto economy and since then writes about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, to further deepen a movement that is not only made of experts mathematicians and cryptographers but also of people who generate a new economy from the bottom. He writes about the same topic on various industry websites. He writes about Industry 4.0 and digital economy in general.