As information of Trump striving to shut down the United States Postal Services (USPS) and stall mail-in voting captures the headlines, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Place of work currently produced public a patent software from the USPS titled ‘Secure Voting System’ that describes employing blockchain technological innovation to secure mail-in voting.

The software is reported as filed on February 7, 2020, and the creation is described as, “A voting technique that can use the stability of blockchain and the mail to supply a reliable voting program. A registered voter receives a pc readable code in the mail and confirms id and confirms right ballot data in an election. The system separates voter identification and votes to make sure vote anonymity, and suppliers votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.”

Main among the Trumps’s problems in opposition to mail-in voting are uncertainties about no matter whether or not the man or woman whose title is on the ballot actually solid the vote, and regardless of whether or not the ballot was tampered with right after it was despatched. In each circumstances blockchain provides tantalizing probable options. Blockchain id solutions are presently remaining commonly created and by relocating the vote to a shared, distributed ledger, the votes would transmit almost quickly, greatly lessening the ballot’s vulnerability to tampering. The Postal Company had no comment at the time of publication.

The patent software provides a amount of illustrations as to how blockchain engineering would secure voting, such as the 1 previously mentioned. The USPS claims in the patent, “Voters normally wish to be in a position to vote for elected officials or on other issues in a fashion that is handy and secure. More, individuals keeping elections wish to be able to guarantee that election results have not been tampered with and that the effects essentially correspond to the votes that were being forged. In some embodiments, a blockchain will allow the tracking of the various styles of necessary data in a way that is secure and makes it possible for other people to conveniently verify that information has not been altered”.

Paul Madsen, Complex Guide at Hedera Hashgraph, a distributed ledger technologies invented by Dr. Leemon Baird, commented on the software by the USPS by noting, “Blockchains, or much more generally Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs), basic value is that they can present to a group with most likely adversarial members a trusted and shared watch of information devoid of relying on some one company to control that facts. To do so, they initially allow for the local community to come to consensus or agreement on the buy of transactions that change the information.”

Madsen explained these capabilities could be handy for recording votes in the election, conveying, “Both capabilities could be handy for recording the votes in an election – as proposed by this USPS patent. The votes of person voters would be recorded, both on the blockchain or proficiently timestamped and then recorded elsewhere – and so each assistance to mitigate the risk of double voting, or vote manipulation as nicely as give the voter assurance via transparency of the process.” Madsen will make very clear that, “blockchains are no magic bullet for voting platforms,” and identifies the id verification as the a lot more critical ingredient, anything which he indicated the patent also acknowledges.

Blockchain technology was used at the Utah Republican Conference as effectively as in Arizona to deliver delegates to the Republican National Conference soon after just about every State made a decision to hold their conventions remotely. The engineering was employed in the 2018 West Virginia elections for absentee ballots of abroad armed service nonetheless, a report by MIT confirmed possible vulnerabilities of the seller software program.

The USPS Business office of Inspector Typical (OIG) inspired the Publish Office to get started looking at the advantages of blockchain engineering back again in 2016. Four key use scenarios for blockchain outlined in a report (impression underneath) have been 1) Economical Management, 2) System Administration, 3) Id Products and services, and 4) Source Chain Management. Id expert services, an area the USPS could prove to be incredibly powerful on for some time, would perform a essential job in securing mail-in voting by blockchain engineering as well.

References to patent filings by the USPS are also manufactured in a 2017 report by the Section of Homeland Security (DHS)
DHS
. The DHS report implies that, “as of September 2017, the USPS submitted a patent to employ a ‘digital rely on architecture’ created up of a ‘user account enrollment and verification component’ based mostly on person identity info a ‘key provisioning part configured to generate a general public and personal key for the person account’ a consumer email element for signing the e-mail with a non-public critical a info obtain component for accessing sensitive knowledge and, a blockchain part for including the records to the blockchain”.

The Postal Services is not by yourself in exploring the positive aspects of blockchain technology when it comes to voting – the U.S. Senate’s Everlasting Pick out Committee on Investigations issued a report previously this calendar year that proposed blockchain technologies for likely use in votes by Congress.