My dream: use an ICP smart contract (SNS with large community ownership) to verify Kenya’s 2027 general election
Goal: Deliver Kenya’s election results to the world within 10mins of polls closing for all elective seats and have all 200,000+ IEBC (our electoral body) forms (the legal poling station final tally election document) visually verified by millions of actual humans from the community & around the world.
INTRO: Hey everybody in the ICP space, i have an idea:
My same is Sam (twitter/x) and I would like to share this idea with the community.
PROBLEM: In my home country Kenya we have had turbulent elections for many years. For example in 2007 an election dispute led to 1600 deaths. This led to a new constitution and a constitutional requirement that election results must be digitally transmitted from each polling centre and made available to the world in realtime.
Therefore the Kenyan government through the IEBC was compelled to digitally transmit elections results directly from polling stations (where the written result is legally final) to prevent election tampering. They provide an open API where anyone who wants to monitor the election results in real time can download elections forms as they were filled out & transmitted by elections officials from each polling station.
The problem is that we have over 40,000+ polling stations and 5 elective seats, so in total 200,000+ partially hand-written documents are transmitted through their API in a short amount of time. Each of these document details the number of votes for each candidate at a particular poling station. Since these documents are partially hand written, a human must download each document and read the hand written vote count in order for them to verify the official government result tally for that elective seat. (We can’t use AI or OCR due to the sensitivity of this task. This must be a human done task)
Due to the high transmission rate and the requirement for a human to visually read these figures, It therefore becomes impossible for any one independent organisation to download each document and tally results for each candidate in order to verify the results the government body IEBC publishes. It can’t be done in a timely manner by one organisation: the task is too monumental.
As you can see, even though the election is technically “open” we still need to trust the final tally the IEBC delivers as the election results because no single independent organisation has the resources to verify each of the 200,000+ documents. So the election was transparent up to the delivery of the final tally. Therefore Kenyans are forced to trust one single entity to tell them who won an election because only the IEBC had the resources to tally all the results from all 40,000+ polling stations.
This is what introduces mistrust and leads to violence in Kenya after elections and is what happened in our 2022 elections. The documents were (and still are) available but independent observers were overwhelmed by them. Up to date no one except the IEBC has tallied all the documents from the 2022 Kenyan elections. As a result of not having independent oversight of the results tally our country has undergone a period of post election protests which have lead to many deaths as detailed here by amnesty.
SOLUTION: We should build an ICP SNS smart contract that can produce a tamperproof audit trail where it verifiably downloads these documents in real time from IEBC and then makes them available for anyone in the world to visually verify them and input their data. The smart contract will then aggregate those human verified results to produce the ICP verified elections results for Kenya’s 2027 general election. Using the power of the crowd and the power of ICP smart contracts a final tally could be produced in a timely manner (<10 mins) and delivered to the world.
No longer will the IEBC have a monopoly on the truth on the final tally for our elections. PROBLEM SOLVED!
The ICP community could do what has never been done in any democracy: verify an entire election and save actual human lives.
WHY THIS MATTERS: The Kenyan election attracts global medial coverage and this would be a good demonstration of ICP smart contracts in use in the real world doing something useful. All the things like proof of personhood the community has been discussing would gain more importance and new meaning. This would take our community mainstream if we can capture global media attention in the lead up to, during and after the Kenyan election and our community would grow by orders of magnitude.
This is a project that is close to my heart. I would love if we could implement it by pooling all the resources in our community.
I would love feedback.