The election campaign for the federal election is entering the hot phase. While the candidates from the individual parties are still struggling to win the favor of the undecided, there will be a new record in any case: participation by postal voters. Some constituencies are already reporting record numbers. In Frankfurt am Main, for example, the head of the Bürgeramt, Oliver Becker, told the German Press Agency (dpa) that 150,000 postal votes had already been cast in the Hessian financial metropolis – twice as many as in the last federal election, and that two weeks before the election. Election observers from North Rhine-Westphalia also noticed a significant increase in participation through postal votes. In general, this value was just under 28 percent in the last nationwide election in 2017. Compared to the ARD capital studio, Michael Kellner, campaign manager for the Greens, forecast an increase in postal voters to 40 to 50 percent.
And although the method the postal vote in Germany is considered safe, criticism of the procedure is repeated again and again. For example, the AFD MP Robert Farle, who is seated in the Magdeburg state parliament, warned of “the greatest electoral fraud of established parties”, while other AFD members were concerned about “massive opportunities for manipulation”. The right-wing populist party has not yet been able to provide any evidence. Rather, one seems to be looking for reasons for a possibly disappointing election result – a similar strategy was already observed in the last US election of former President Donald Trump.
In fact, there have been isolated cases of fraud in postal votes in Germany in the past. In 2021, a vote in Rüsselsheim and Raunheim hit the headlines when irregularities were discovered in individual constituencies. In addition, there is another problem with the method. Because when voting by post, you cannot understand whether the vote was cast independently, unobserved and uninfluenced. These deficits are now trying to solve various projects using blockchain technology.
Postal voting over the Internet?
For example, the US project Vote XX is planning to move postal votes to the Internet. In the future, citizens should be able to vote using their smartphones, the XX-Network explains to BTC-Echo: “Such an Internet remote voting offers numerous advantages: Convenience, low costs, more precise identification of the ballot papers, quick reporting of the results and improved user-friendliness Accessibility, including support for multiple languages and long ballots. “
“Blockchain a means against hacks and vote buying”
According to the project, such systems have so far not been used out of “fear of hacks and selling votes”. This problem exists with all types of long-distance voting, including postal votes. Vote XX wants to solve these challenges in two ways. On the one hand, the blockchain protects against malware attacks from outside.
“Every computer involved must commit itself to a digital audit trail by printing it out or post without revealing how people voted. Voters and auditors then check everything from start to finish and confirm the accuracy of the results. This strategy turns the malware problem on its head, “explains the XX-Network to BTC-Echo.
The malware would therefore have to everyone Control any computer that has ever accessed the data. On the other hand, the problem of buying votes would also be eliminated, according to his own statement, since a reversal of the vote would still be possible even after votes have been cast. The vote buyer is not given complete assurance that the vote will also be in his interest. Vote XX relies on a so-called “flip code”, which is issued to the voter during registration and can be used to change the vote.
However, the project is not yet fully ready for practical use. There are currently no negotiations with the responsible authorities. As a next step, Vote XX plans to initially use the system in university elections in the USA. It remains to be seen whether postal votes can also be digitized with your own concept Path.
Author of the article is Daniel Hoppmann.