Horizon State: Integrity and Transparency to Voting Systems

Steve Kanaval  |

Without question, the 2016 Election will go down in history as a landmark event not just for this country but for the world it impacts. A candidate from outside the political sphere was cast onto the lawn of the White House on a wave of populism and isolationism and catalyzed by an undertow of decentralized actors. Wikileaks, the invisible enemies of foreign actors, and a massive horde of botnets all converged - from distant vantage points - to alter the fabric of our nation state.

A year after this momentous election, a dialogue has started about how we can protect our democracy, preserve the sanctity of our right to vote and restore faith in the idea that ordinary citizens – and not a select plutocracy – control the direction of our country. Through all the dialogue, one area of need has constantly been scrutinized: America's aging voting system.

After the election catastrophe of 2000, which saw the country gripped in the materialized terror of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, the government threw money at our voting machines. However, now seventeen years later, these legacy machines are already aging; and, if they are not breaking down or causing absurdly long lines, they are costing taxpayers $20 per person, which, with a voting age population a little over 235 million, should cost us a not-so-small fortune, even if, on average, only 59% of that number actually vote. Moreover, the reasons citizens fail to vote are connected to these same voting machines: long lines and lack of trust in our voting methods. One pillar of the next industrial revolution, however, will help us eradicate this problem.

Blockchain, a vast, global distributed ledger that is encrypted and open to all, is being employed to solidify our voting system and to bring democracy back into the hands of the people cutting out intermediaries. A voting system powered by the blockchain is one that works with transparency and blocks against outside tampering and interference. How is this possible? Blockchain is designed to operate without a central authority or hub where each voter has an encrypted and unique key that is verified end-to-end. One company that is a pioneer in decentralized decision-making platforms is Horizon State. The company has already built a cost-efficient blockchain-based voting platform estimated to cost less than $1 per person that enables citizens to vote immediately from any mobile device or computer.

Horizon State's blockchain voting platform operates on Decision Tokens (HST). The company's token-based blockchain voting system creates a digital ballot box where results can be tallied in real-time fostering an ecosystem of engagement and inclusivity. Furthermore, the platform by its nature is not limited to national elections but can be plugged into any decision-based process like surveys or decentralized discussions.

A paradigm shift of this magnitude would reverberate around the world. Horizon State's system not only looks to repair the outdated ballot box but also seeks to restore the name of democracy. A study from the hallowed halls of Princeton University revealed that after analyzing 1,779 policy issues, it was found that only economic elites and business groups impacted policies in the Land of the Free. Certainly, this notion will not shock anyone or make someone spill his coffee, but when the same study incorporated 20 more years of data, here is how they put it: "The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact in public policy."

If that is not enough to make you feel like a ghost, data mining recently traced the direct connection between our legislation and lobbying groups. It was revealed that many bills that pass through state houses around the country are birthed from the pens of lobbyists. The truth is that true direct democracy is non-existent. Yet, technology - with its electric immediacy - can return citizens to the assemblies and dialogues that were intended when the Greeks hammered out the notion of the democratic state. Horizon State is looking to restore the power of our voices while eradicating the corruption and lobbying that has strangled us for so long.

Most critically, Horizon State is not issuing hypothetical tokens. The company has already deployed its blockchain-based system in Australia to rave reviews. MiVote, part of the Horizon State system, helps Australians stay connected to issues being discussed in parliament. Here is how it works:

MiVote is being used to engage more directly with an Australian public that only sees 1.3% involved in political movements. To date, The MiVote movement has run four nationally-inclusive polls as of September 2017, and more polls are coming in the near future.

Horizon State's blockchain-based voting system has the potential to restore the meaning of democracy. In our current political system, democracy has been tarnished by corporate influence, lack of accountability and exclusion – a far cry from the process which was envisioned by the original House of Burgesses in Jamestown, Virginia. MiVote and the company's token platform offer a way forward that enables community consensus, efficiency and easy participation. Horizon State is an opportunity to change the status quo for the better.

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