U.S. Elections: Are We Ready for the Evidence?

Image credit: iStockphoto/lakshmiprasad S

In what will go down in history as one of the most controversial elections in the history of the U.S., the Nov. 3 elections are an indictment of the current polling system in a sharply divided political environment that sorely lacks trust.

Amidst rampant claims of voter fraud from the incumbent U.S. President and his followers, current trust levels in establishment and institutions are precipitously collapsing. Part of the reason is a mainstream media that has uniformly dismissed those claims as non-existent, and Big Tech jumping in to monitor and censor social media conversations.

According to Statista, only 29% of adults in the U.S. felt the news media was trustworthy. It was a statistic gathered in Feb. 2020, before the recent months where political polarization has intensified even further, giving rise to a climate of unprecedented numbers of fake news accusations distinctly divided along party lines.

The Challenge: Validation of Voter ID

Can trust in the system’s process ever be restored in such an atmosphere of unhealthy skepticism and mutual suspicion? For one thing, instead of the uniform dismissals of voter fraud across mainstream media, it might be refreshing to see some measure of investigative journalism to either debunk or validate such claims.

Three weeks before Election Day, conservative watchdog Judicial Watch alleged that 352 U.S. counties in 29 states had registered 1.8 million more voters than eligible voting-age citizens. It cited states like Arizona, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, and Texas, which produced registration rates exceeding 100%.

Validation of voter I.D. is obviously of critical importance in the face of voter fraud claims.

In-built blockchain immutability ensures data integrity

In Aug. 2020, the USPS (United States Postal Service) published its patent application for a blockchain-based ‘secure voting system.’

Why blockchain technology? Because the immutability of blockchains ensures that it is tamper-proof. Data entered on a blockchain generates a cryptographic fingerprint that is unique to each block of data. This chain of data is shared across multiple network nodes and cannot be altered or deleted because of the built-in consensus mechanism — the database must agree across all nodes.

The fact that the network is decentralized and cannot be influenced or taken down by a single party makes blockchain technology perfectly suited for ensuring data integrity.

In practice, technology and cybersecurity challenges facing blockchain-enabled voting still need to be ironed out, as we have previously reported. The MIT study, done by Michael Specter, James Koppel, and Daniel Weitzner, recommends running a secure election over the internet is not currently possible.

Weaknesses anywhere in a large chain are vulnerabilities that adversaries can take advantage of. There have not been enough experimentation and voting trials conducted yet on a scale that is the magnitude of the U.S. elections.

U.S. Elections are cryptographically published

On Oct. 15, the Associated Press (A.P.) announced that it was teaming up with Everipedia to publish the U.S. Election race calls on the blockchain. A Wikipedia-on-the-blockchain of sorts, Everipedia uses the ‘Everipedia OraQle,’ a blockchain oracle powered by Chainlink, to cryptographically sign off data feeds.

Here, it is crucial to distinguish between using blockchain technology to implement full-on blockchain voting, which pertains to both the casting and securing of votes instead of only securing (recording on the blockchain) votes. The latter appears to be the A.P. implementation of blockchain technology, utilizing Everipedia’s ‘oracle-as-a-service’ platform.

Deploying their OraQle product powered by the I.Q. token, Everipedia has published time-stamped voter data from every county, parish, city, and town across the country.

The obvious point of vulnerability would be at the entry point of data, the voter information being fed into the blockchain. However, once that data has entered the blockchain, it is immutable and undeletable, rendering it the next best evidence to the ‘original writing rule,’ which prioritizes originals over copies in courts.

Media needs to stop ignorance

President-elect Joe Biden has declared that it was “time to heal” as a nation. What better way to bring about healing than to dispel accusations of a stolen election? There is no need to descend to levels of he said, she said, they said. If we so desire, we now have time-stamped voters’ data that will help us trace and verify voter identities. It can once and for all either put out any doubts about ghost voting OR validate those claims.

It is time for mainstream media to stop ignoring or dismissing voter fraud claims with their standard lines of “no evidence whatsoever” or “baseless accusations.” If mainstream media has any desire to restore trust with the public, now is the time to step in the right direction.

Image credit: iStockphoto/lakshmiprasad S