Based on Waves Enterprise blockchain platform, the largest voting on initiatives within Russia was conducted in the Volgograd region
Active involvement of citizens in solving local issues in their district, city, or village, has become a global trend. Obviously the people know more about most of these problems than local officials do. When the citizens themselves initiate projects for life improvement, it helps to build an open and effective dialogue with authorities, to determine the most important issues for budgeting.
In Russia, this procedure is prescribed by article 26.1 “Initiative projects” of “The General Organizational Principles of Local Self-Government in the Russian Federation” federal law, which states the procedures of nominating, estimating, and controlling initiatives of municipal citizens. In case of nominating the projects with similar issues to be solved, the administration provides a competitive examination together with the citizens. As international practice shows, the most effective way of doing it is e-voting.
For the project, an e-voting service was developed on top of the Waves Enterprise blockchain platform. It consists of two main parts. The centralized part provides user registration and authorization, creating and adopting projects in administrative districts, and reviewing the results of the voting. The decentralized part provides transparent and anonymous access to making a vote. The service was located within a secured fail-safe segment of the Yandex.Cloud data center.
The e-voting blockchain service provides three different roles of the participants:
To register as the users, the citizens entered their phones on a special site and received a free SMS with the access passwords. The e-voting portal contained the list of all municipalities and groups of educational institutes included in the voting. After pressing a municipality or a group, a user could see all the initiative projects connected and vote for one within a municipality or a group of educational institutes.
An example of a project description
To simplify the workflow, cloud signature was used. It makes it possible to store the encrypted private keys within the centralized system, thus preventing the users from losing their keys while at the same time making it unnecessary to keep the keys on their devices. Moreover, the voting portal contains results of all the previous votings as well as access to the project archive.
The portal meets all the technical requirements:
Also, the portal meets all the requirements on patent purity under the current legislation of the Russian Federation — part 4 of the Civil code concerning the field of intellectual property.
Using all the key features of the Waves Enterprise blockchain platform provided a number of important features:
To protect the interim results, distributed generating of the ballot encryption keys is used so that no one, not even the organizers — the Committee of Economics of the Volgograd Region — can know the results until the voting ends.
Blind signature and homomorphic encryption provide anonymity of will.
Smart contracts ensure the authenticity of electronic and bling signatures in the encrypted ballots, providing the basic check of their correct filling.
Waves Enterprise decentralized blockchain network provides distributed generating of ballot encryption keys, their check-up, and processing to form the results. All the operations with the bulletins are made without their decryption and only the final ciphertext with the results is decrypted.
During the e-voting, form 11 to 25 May 2021:
unique users registered on the e-voting portal
votes were calculated for different projects, including 212 794 for municipal projects and 163 663 for educational institutions
municipal subjects of the Volgograd region took part in the voting (including 32 municipal districts, 5 city districts, and 8 districts of the regional center)
projects were adopted in the main e-voting and 366 in the educational institutions’ voting.
According to the e-voting conditions, the projects with 500+ votes within their municipal districts became the winners, along with top-20 projects in every group of educational institutions. All of them will be financed and brought to life by the end of 2021.
The results of voting on municipal districts
The results of voting on educational institutions
The program is financed from regional and local budgets, as well as non-budget sources. In 2021 the regional contribution will grow from ₽104 to 170 mln. Every municipal project will receive up to ₽750 000, and every “educational” one — up to ₽250 000. The local budgets will contribute 10% of the whole sums, as the year before.
“The Volgograd region was among the first regions to use blockchain technology and transparent crypto algorithms to choose the local initiatives since 2019 when it all started. It was necessary for us to hear as many people as possible, and guarantee 100% authenticity of the data. The blockchain e-voting system ensures anonymity and continuity, protects us from cheating. Our experience was considered successful and recommended for reproduction: the Ministry of Finance included it in its best practices of initiative budgeting.
This year the e-voting was also held on a blockchain platform and proved the citizens are very active and engaged in local development. The initiatives offered were widely supported by the community. Digital technologies let us save money and resources, and attract more people than in traditional voting. As a result, we can solve issues of public importance more effectively” — said Dmitriy Zavyalov, Vice-President of the Financial Committee of the Volgograd region
“The results of public e-voting in the Volgograd region show how the community is involved in solving local issues. It also proves the effectiveness of using e-voting for rating initiative projects. In fact, these services bring direct democracy from paper to life, when citizens themselves initiate, adopt and execute common and local solutions. Here blockchain ensures transparency and authenticity of all the processes” — commented Igor Kuzmichev, Waves Enterprise commercial director