In April 2019, the Guatemalan election experienced issues. It appeared voting fraud had taken place. There were more elections scheduled for August 2019 and concerned citizens wanted to provide information to the Guatemalan population to help verify that there was no fraud in the next election. Recognizing this as an ideal situation for a public immutable blockchain, Fiscal Digital, a Guatemalan citizen volunteer organization, reached out to Horizen for assistance.
Horizen and Guatemala Work Together
Peter Stewart, an accomplished software developer and Horizen volunteer team member dedicated hundreds of hours to creating a process and website to assist in the documentation of the August 2019 Guatemalan election results. Horizen co-founder Rolf Versluis worked closely with Carlos Toriello of Fiscal Digital to provide testing and feedback to Peter on the application.
What made his contribution unique was the new application provided a process where anyone could take a digital picture, create a unique fingerprint of it using is SHA-256 hash function, then store it on the powerful and secure Horizen public blockchain.
The citizens of Guatemala have had little visibility in the election process in this past. This crucial development allows them to have visibility and access to immutable documentation of their elections. The election process in Guatemala is very democratic, with each district tallying votes and recording them on paper ballots that are forwarded to the capital for counting. In order to expedite the election process, there is a manual computer entry of each ballot on the day of the election. Unfortunately, there is no public visibility into the electronic version of the tally and the system could be manipulated with little oversight.
Fiscal Digital and Horizen
Fiscal Digital is a community of volunteers that work to review the pictures of the paper ballots and compare the vote count to the publicly recorded electronic vote count. In order to verify the validity of the paper ballots, a system was needed to ensure that the pictures of the ballots used in the verification were the actual ones provided by the district election supervisors.
Because the Horizen blockchain creates a new transaction block every two and a half minutes and it is possible for anyone to put information in the cryptographically signed and verified block for a small fee. Adding information about the pictures into a blockchain record that could not be changed by anyone is very helpful to the vote validation process.
One of the interesting things about a public blockchain is that as records are added to it, the information in those records becomes immutable. That means that people can’t go back and change them afterward. Especially when this is a public blockchain that’s operated by non-coordinating parties all over the world.
This was a great opportunity to practice our mission “to empower people and bring the world together by building a fair and inclusive ecosystem where everyone is rewarded for their contributions.”
About The Application
You can visit the website created to assist Fiscal Digital and see the immutable record of the Guatemalan election results. The website demonstrates how blockchain can be used to empower citizens. The application makes the verification process easy and straightforward for the reviewer.
The application protects against somebody altering the picture at some point in the future to show that the election result was different than the ballots that were originally cast.
The Horizen team is happy to assist Guatemala and other countries in documenting election results in an immutable blockchain protected by tens of thousands of computing machines. If there is enough interest, our project may create a purpose-specific blockchain application that could be integrated into a vote tallying or recording process with the help of Horizen Labs, a well-established services and consulting firm, that works with Enterprise organizations and government organizations to accomplish tasks for which blockchains are ideally suited.
The Horizen Notes application website and Fiscal Digital are both at the beginning of the citizen empowerment process. Inquiries about Horizen can be directed to Rolf Versluis, and for Fiscal Digital to Carlos Toriello.
Rolf Versluis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlos Toriello: email@example.com