Le Vote: concrete organisation for a digital election
Le Vote consists of a website for elected representatives and a mobile app for the public. Based on blockchain, the latest and most advanced technology in terms of security, Orange is the only player to offer a fully digital pathway. The Le Vote solution is already being used by a number of municipalities in France, and will soon be rolled out internationally.
In a few weeks’ time, this service will also open its doors to private organisations such as businesses, banks/insurance firms, associations and so on.
In real terms, what happens after an agreement is drawn up between a municipality and the Le Vote teams? Elected representatives responsible for organising polls log onto the web interface developed by Orange. They access a back office to configure the ballot and provide the title of the poll, the question put to the public, the context of the ballot and the start and end dates of the process. They then approve the poll for publication. Voters (registered inhabitants of the municipality) are then notified of the start of a new ballot via the Le Vote app, which they will have downloaded previously. If they want to (which they usually do), they can vote online whenever and wherever they like!
Because Le Vote is the first online voting app that relies on blockchain technology, it enables citizens to participate more fully in the life of their municipality, using a participatory democracy approach that guarantees unicity of the vote. The website and app have been developed in accordance with GDPR rules. No personal data is kept on the servers.
Guillaume Odriosolo, Project Manager for Le Vote at Orange:
“Our solution is aimed primarily at big cities. We worked very early with potential customers in order to test the uses, the customer journey and the structure of the offer. Especially with a large Town Hall with which we have signed an agreement for a year. We strive to ensure that the offer is well in line with the budget of the local authority concerned. The local authority can finance Le Vote using the savings made from paperless election activities. It will also achieve more interaction with its local residents.”
Since these tests, two towns have so far taken up the offer: Fort-de-France and Anzin, along with the joint association of the Val-d’Oise department and the Normandy region.
“Overall, our customers are very happy that they are able to make cost savings thanks to the vote pathway being made paperless, and to ensure transparency and absolute security for voters,” adds Guillaume.
A readily available solution on an international scale
From the outset, Le Vote was designed as a simple tool for which enrolment, for both the voter and the elected representative, does not require any action on Orange’s part. Users are completely independent. This is a model that could soon take on the world.
Guillaume says: “We already have several early adopters. Le Vote promotes a new public-driven energy and aims to become a major player in the field of civic tech.”
For the digital reflex to spread to electoral matters, the solution offered must be based on a transparent, robust and secure protocol.
Lifting the lid on Le Vote
Why did you choose blockchain for Le Vote?
Guillaume Odriosolo: “This technology provides secure data storage and transmission processes, and operates without a central control entity. Basically, transactions made by network users are grouped into blocks. Each block is validated by a network of nodes, known as miners. Once the block has been validated, it is date and time stamped and added to the blockchain.”
What was the driving force behind this project?
Guillaume Odriosolo: “I sensed a coming revolution with blockchain. The concept’s strength lies in this absence of trusted third parties and of data centralisation. The consensus is distributed. Information isn’t being certified by an organisation, or a single individual or company, but by the network thanks to the power of a protocol. Therefore, information is validated at random by a multitude of points that make up the network. The protocol that blockchain is based on makes it extremely robust, which is the cherry on the cake.”
How is blockchain involved in the development of Le Vote?
Guillaume Odriosolo: “Each time a resident in a city using Le Vote casts their vote, this is transmitted and written to the blockchain. This means that every vote is secure. In addition, the result of a ballot is secure as well, because only the total of these different votes cumulated in the blockchain is displayed.”
How do the web interface for elected representatives and the app for the public work in real life?
Guillaume Odriosolo: “The organiser of the ballot, so the mayor or the joint local authority, logs onto the Le Vote website to configure the poll. The title, the start and end dates, the context, the questions asked, an explanatory image, etc. are then displayed. Once published, the ballot will be available for voters who have downloaded the Le Vote mobile app (on iOS and Android). They will receive a push notification via the app telling them about the poll. Our infrastructure is robust, and to date has dealt with 2,000 simultaneous connections.”
Is blockchain used in both of these cases?
Guillaume Odriosolo: “This technology is actually implemented as soon as voters cast their individual votes, and when the results are consolidated at the end of voting.”
How did you approach elected representatives about working with them?
Guillaume Odriosolo: “We are actively working with Orange’s regional offices and Orange’s delegation for relations with local authorities, who are extremely knowledgeable about the needs and backgrounds of elected representatives in our area. Without them, we couldn’t have moved so fast. In addition, without such close collaboration with the elected representatives, we wouldn’t have been able to build this product together so quickly.”
What difficulties have you encountered during this project?
Guillaume Odriosolo: “The choice of blockchain is a major talking point. There are hundreds of blockchains worldwide with performances and uses that differ from one to the next. Each service must consider these needs and choose its infrastructure, and therefore blockchain, accordingly. For Le Vote, we opted for a public blockchain. This certainly offers security, but above all it provides transparency.”