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Polys introduces new voting methods and usability improvements

June 2021 by Kaspersky

Polys, a blockchain-based voting platform from the Kaspersky Innovation Hub, has been enhanced with new voting methods to seamlessly support common customer requests. The platform was also updated with new features for organisers that make election administration and orchestration easier.

Over the past year, various aspects of people’s lives have moved online, including making joint decisions. That has led to the number of sessions on Polys increasing threefold in this period[1]. The immutable and decentralised nature of blockchain makes it a perfect technology for e-voting in conditions and industries with high security requirements. And with the growing popularity of blockchain-backed elections, the need for new voting methods appeared.

To support those changing scenarios most required by customers, Polys has added the following types of voting available out-of-the-box:

- ‘For, Against, Abstain’ voting
In this new form of election, organisers can create polls on different matters within one session, using a single ballot. It saves time for elections happening at meetings (such as annual general meetings, board meetings or academic councils) held by businesses, NGOs and education entities. This new type of election is in addition to single selection, multiple selections, and multi-option point systems (where a voter assigns points to the available options).

When implementing this type of ballot, the main challenge was to establish a fast and efficient vote count, while enabling strong privacy protection.

- Open ballot voting
In addition to secret voting enabled with strong anonymisation and encryption algorithms, customers can arrange elections where participants cast their votes openly. Such roll-call voting is a must in some situations; for example, giving scientific degrees which is often based on such elections.

To make voting orchestration and management easier, the following features were introduced:

- Simplified billing and licensing
Votes for up to 5,000 participants can now be organised and purchased without interaction with the Polys team, speeding up the accounts process. The new licensing mechanism is also implemented in the form of a smart contract: upon activation of the license, all parameters are recorded in the blockchain. In addition to standard packages, it is possible to form a special license on customer request, if the current options don’t meet their requirements.

- Tracking opened ballots
With this update, a vote organiser can track who has opened the link from an email or SMS message to receive the ballot. The list of these participants is displayed in a dedicated table in the Organiser Panel at the "voting is under way" stage. To ensure voter anonymity and avoid manipulation, it is still impossible to see who exactly cast a vote.

- Tools to edit lists of voters
At the ’Creation’ stage, the uploaded voter list can be viewed and edited directly in the interface of the voting system.

- Archive old sessions
All completed polls can now be archived and displayed in a special area of the Organiser Panel. As Polys runs on blockchain, nothing can be deleted from the system. Previously, all current and past voting sessions were in one list, but if an organiser arranged numerous elections, it was hard to determine which were still running.

[1] Data from December 2020-February 2021 and December 2019 and February 2020 were analyzed

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