Transparent voting at the Russian Federation of Practical Shooting
The task: transparent online voting
Sports organizations in Russia regularly use voting. They vote on overall questions of organizational policy and structure, and use voting for regular activities, such as competitions. Traditionally, voting happens during offline sessions, but the pandemic has challenged all sports organizations by introducing restrictions. The Russian Federation of Practical Shooting is no exception.
When the Federation searched for an online voting tool, transparency was their main consideration. Sometimes they have thousands of voting participants choosing a competition venue or evaluating results. With such a large number of interested parties, it is inevitable that every time questions pour in from the more active voters. And naturally, they want full honesty and accountability.
Popular voting tools such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey are insufficient for the task. The way they work is far from clear to users, and therefore cannot be fully trusted. The logical solution is a blockchain-based online voting service.
The administrator creates and configures a new vote in the WE.Vote client application. The voting date and time are transmitted transparently, while the rest of the data is hashed. Hash sums are published on the blockchain, which makes it impossible to alter original data.
Further, the voting data is processed by cryptographic services using MPC (Multi-Party Computation) protocol, which ensures decentralization and security at this stage.
Each of the voting participants who have been added receives a voting notification via email and can vote after registering through the WE.Vote web app.
WE.Vote also checks whether the ballots have been completed properly, and whether participants’ choices correspond to ballot options. This is all done via non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs – a technology that doesn’t require the decryption of bulletins.
Participants can revote and change their choices, so long as voting is open. This reduces the risk of pressure on participants. When the results are counted, only the most recent ballot is taken into account. The system automatically rejects any vote or revote submitted before or after the period set by the administrator.
Thanks to the homomorphic addition of values, the WE.Vote service summarizes voting results without separately decrypting each ballot. The administrator is able to access participants’ votes, however, if he/she has indicated that voting is open. Final results are published in the blockchain, and can be accessed by the voting administrator in an easy-to-read PDF report.
WE.Vote: user-friendly and accessible
The client side of WE.Vote is designed as a standard web application, and can be used on any device with a browser and Internet access. After the launch of the first version of the service, we analyzed feedback from the Federation users and organized all the workflow with seed phrases in stealth mode, without user interaction.
Traditionally, because of how blockchain applications work, each user has to monitor their own seed phrase – their unique passphrase ID within the blockchain network. WE.Vote, however, automatically saves the phrase in the secure Waves Enterprise cloud. This means that users only need to remember their WE.Vote usernames and passwords, which can be restored via email if necessary, in order to participate in a vote. In other words, WE.Vote can be used in the same way as a typical remote voting service.
Project results and perspectives
In the future, the Federation plans to use WE.Vote for more significant and large-scale voting on the key items to do with activities, and for reporting to the Russian Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Sports. The Federation is also considering the use of WE.Vote for a nationwide conference – its largest event.
“We have a vested interest in continuing to use blockchain for the Federation voting. WE.Vote brings online voting technology to a new level. It works in a completely transparent fashion, which is vital when any serious matter is put to a vote. I think such services will become more popular as they become more and more user-friendly."