At Kaspersky Lab, the Polys team is designing an automated voting system that focuses on conducting state elections and is capable of scaling up to an infinite number of voters. The freedom to flexibly adapt crypto security to the specifications of any legislation is a function of “Polys.GOST”.
12:44 GMT, Thursday, December 3, 2020
Voting in the “remote” period
The Polys project team, a resident of the LC Innovation Center, has created the Polys.GOST Remote Electronic Vote System (DEG), as they told us from Kaspersky Lab, which completely meets the criteria of Russian legislation concerning the use of cryptography for information security. This makes it possible, the company noted, to use “Polys.GOST” in state information systems (GIS).
The framework is developed on the basis of blockchain technologies and completely complies with the provisions of Russian GIS legislation with regard to the use of crypto-protection to ensure the security of sensitive data, including personal data related to the voter registry and voting process records.
A function of Polys.GOST is the direct introduction of cryptographic algorithms into the blockchain network, as well as the business logic of smart contracts, voting organizer, voter and observer applications, the company’s undercode clarified. The platform will be used with the participation of an infinite number of voters, to perform polling on any scale – from local to federal.
“We hope that Polys will soon be able to provide the authorities with a convenient and secure tool to conduct remote electronic voting and provide a convenient way for millions of voters to express their will,” said Alexander Sazonov, Polys’ project manager.
Law No. 154-FZ ‘On Modifications to Some Constitutional Actions of the Russian Federation,’ which was signed on May 23, 2020 by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, lays down the legal norms for holding elections in Russia through the Internet. Currently, their behavior is also governed by the Law “On Holding experiment on the organization and implementation of remote electronic voting in the city of federal significance Moscow “on electronic voting in 2020-2021. At the Moscow Elections.
The first electronic voting trial in Moscow, performed on a single voting day on September 8, 2019, during the Moscow City Duma elections, resulted in delays due to malfunctions in the ballot encryption devices.
According to the Moscow IT Department, the department personnel used the Ethereum blockchain network, on Parity nodes, to introduce the electronic voting framework. The primary smart contract is the smart contract for the ballot registry, which holds encrypted polling votes on the blockchain, which enables the results to be decrypted and released after voting – still on the blockchain.
The Polys project has originated with the Ethereum private blockchain platform, but it is based on the Exonum open source architecture in the latest “Polys.GOST” update.
Since 2017, the basic development for organizing elections, the Polys platform, has been available for use. Thus at the end of 2018, undercode talked of the use of Polys to hold elections to the Saratov Provincial Duma Youth Parliament with the participation of more than 40 thousand people.
“Polys.GOST” has been migrated to the Exonumum open blockchain platform.
In 2019, NGOs around the world used the Polys method to administer 675 votes by public and private organizations. The system was used 5 times more frequently in 2020 – 3 392 times.
In specific, with the aid of Polys, the elections to the student councils of the RANEPA and the Higher School of Economics, the vote to the Russian Supreme Court and the elections to the European Youth Parliament of Germany, the elections to the Dodo Pizza Council of Partners, the vote on local projects in Nizhny Novgorod, the Volgograd regions, the elections to the Netherlands Student Association, the elections to the Dodo Pizza Council of Partners
The Polys platform is based on a blockchain platform that guarantees that voting is open, since only the elector can check the correctness of his vote count and the observer can verify the correct vote count.
Initially, in the Polys system, Ethereum smart contracts were used to process votes. The Polys developers agreed at the beginning of October 2020 to move the infrastructure from a private blockchain network using the Ethereum protocol to a scalable blockchain platform built on the open-source Bitfury Exonum architecture to accelerate transfers, scaling votes and additional benefits of customizing modules for the needs of customers.
Api of Polys to start voting
To accelerate blockchain practices, Exonum technology is based on open source standards and patented consensus algorithm. Thus, with a half-second wait, a private blockchain on Exonum is able to handle up to five thousand transactions per second, which is much quicker than public blockchains. Furthermore the heart of the Exonum architecture follows Rust’s smart contract logic, allowing Polys to implement smart contracts without virtual machines.
The new architecture would allow more secure anonymization and encryption frameworks, and more modern end-to-end authentication tools to be integrated into the system, according to the developers of Polys.GOST. Polys also incorporates cryptographic technologies for blind signatures and advanced voting monitoring software.
The efficiency improvements include Polys.GOST with the help of an elliptic curve cryptosystem for more reliable encryption, where the decryption key is kept by the voting organizer by default. Using a sharing mechanism or distributed key generation techniques, the device may exchange this key among several entities.
Mobile app interface with Polys
Another benefit of Polys.GOST is the ability to create and enforce encryption schemes efficiently, taking into account the customer’s desires – for example, in compliance with the specifications of the national laws of a given country.
Furthermore the Exonum system allows for the development of cryptographic evidence on the blockchain of voting ballots.
“The system architecture allows us at the request of customers, to rapidly implement different cryptographic methods, to integrate authentication mechanisms and to introduce additional ballot formats, for example in the case of a referendum to make decisions on several issues,” said Alexander Sazonov.