TechInPacific – An Australia-based Papua New Guinean aerospace engineer Nicholas Wabiria has developed a new blockchain technology-based E-Voting System that protects democratic countries’ election system against fraud and manipulation.
The economical platform promises real-time results and solutions to both technical and non-technical issues during the election process.
Growing up in Hela Province, the founder and CEO of Wabiria Electoral Solution (WES) Mr. Wabiria is familiar with the high levels of corruption and electoral-related issues in his place. As the son of a political leader and member of the House of Assembly Sir Andrew Wabiria, he wanted to design a technology that would fight the electoral corruption and promotes a healthy democracy, and he has done a fair share of in-depth research that allows him to observe the election process in PNG.
“As we have seen during the past elections, supporters sometimes kill each other and die over the ballot boxes and ballot papers. They tamper, chop and damage ballot boxes and outlook shows nothing will stop them doing same in future elections.
“The way we run elections have shown that privacy, secrecy and security of the voters are compromised and don’t exist, while women and children and other vulnerable citizens are denied their rights to cast votes freely.
“Polling stations are usually overcrowded, where supporters fight each other over the ballot boxes and ballot papers, while they directly suppress democratic process of choosing leaders without fear or favour.”
While the PNG Electoral Commission has been looking at Indian Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and Biometric voting machine, Mr. Wabiria believes his system would be more suited to the country as it specifically addresses the problems occurring in the country’s election. He has proposed the system for the 2022 National Election, as well as testing the system in Australia.
“We have successfully conducted three community elections in Melbourne, Australia; the African Community Executive Elections, Victorian PNG Community Elections and the Revival Church Youth Election, where WES system has received positive reviews and encouraging feedbacks.
He is also in talks to run more tests with Islamic Society Executive Elections (Australia Wide), RMIT University, University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Victoria University student elections, which all have a population of half a million-plus.
Any specific integration or customization can be implemented when his team is allowed to run the test in PNG’s by-elections between this year and 2022 with supervision from the election authority that oversees the whole process.
How the WES voting system works
These are the five obligatory steps that PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) has to follow to incorporate the voting platform in the election process:
1. Ballot cards with concealable code number unique to each voter
PNGEC inputs all eligible voters’ names into the system, allowing the system to generate ballot cards unique for each voter that includes the voter’s name and code number. The code number can only be revealed by scratching the label. The cards are then delivered during the election day.
2. Cutting logistics of Ballot cards distribution
To cut the logistics cost of ballot box purchase and print, only 1-2 boxes of stacked ballot cards will be transported with 3-4 vehicles for each province and using the same vehicles to carry on for the next day. PNGEC will have 20 police officers on watch unlike the usual thousands of personnel escorting the ballot boxes and papers.
PNGEC members or electoral officials will distribute the cards to voters. After receiving the card, the voter can then send his vote through text message to WES’s local mobile phone numbers, while the system automatically counts and update the voting number in real-time. A prompt reply will be sent to the voter that indicates the success of the voting process: “You have successfully voted, thank you.”
4. Counting and declaring the result
The process of counting and declaring votes will be automated as soon as the system’s count button is pressed. Any external threats such as human manipulation are inhibited with the decentralized-based system.
5. Election report
The report of each activity is stored in the election log within the WES system and can be generated and printed at ease. It will also become PNGEC’s reference for future election and proof in court if any candidate files a dispute against the electoral result.
Cost & Security
Compared to other biometric readers and conventional ballots, the WES system only requires 2GB RAM and 150 GB storage for maximum performance on the administration side, while the voters can use any mobile phone to cast the vote, and one mobile phone can be used by different voters too.
From the security viewpoint, the decentralized system guaranteed a hack and tamper-free experience, and the immutability, transparency, traceability, and peer-to-peer interaction feature of blockchain help layering the WES system security.