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Introduction to Voting and the Blockchain: some open questions for economists

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Listed:
  • Dhillon, Amrita

    (King’s College London)

  • Kotsialou, Grammateia

    (King’s College London)

  • McBurney, Peter

    (King’s College London)

  • Riley, Luke

    (King’s College London)

Abstract

This work discusses the potential of a blockchain based infrastructure for a decentralised online voting platform. When compared to paper based voting, online voting can vastly increase the speed that votes can be counted, expand the overall accessibility of the election system and decrease the cost of turnout. Yet despite these advantages, online voting for political office is subject to fraud at various levels due to its centralised nature. In this paper, we describe a general architecture of a centralised online voting system and detail which areas of such a system are vulnerable to electoral fraud. We then proceed to introduce the key ideas underlying blockchain technology as a decentralised mechanism that can address these problems. We discuss the advantages and weaknesses of the blockchain technology, the protocols the technology uses and what criteria a good blockchain protocol should satisfy (depending on the voting application). We argue that the decentralisation inherent in the blockchain technology could increase the public’s trust in national elections, as well as eliminate voter impersonation and double voting. We conclude with a discussion regarding how economists and social scientists can collaborate with the blockchain community in a research agenda on the design of efficient blockchain protocols and new voting systems such as liquid democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhillon, Amrita & Kotsialou, Grammateia & McBurney, Peter & Riley, Luke, 2019. "Introduction to Voting and the Blockchain: some open questions for economists," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 416, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:416
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/416-2019_dhillon.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eric Budish, 2018. "The Economic Limits of Bitcoin and the Blockchain," NBER Working Papers 24717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Thomas Fujiwara, 2015. "Voting Technology, Political Responsiveness, and Infant Health: Evidence From Brazil," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 423-464, March.
    3. Michel Balinski & Rida Laraki, 2011. "Majority Judgment: Measuring, Ranking, and Electing," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262015137, December.
    4. Yusuf Neggers, 2018. "Enfranchising Your Own? Experimental Evidence on Bureaucrat Diversity and Election Bias in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(6), pages 1288-1321, June.
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