EIP electronic implementations are built upon a layered architecture, adding system characteristics as we move down the layer stack. There are three architectural layers, the last two of which are optional :
* Tokens (Vote Tracking Numbers)
* Distributed Ledgers (optional)
* Blockchain (optional)
Tokens provide transparency by providing voters the ability to trace their ballot from the point of inception all the way through to reporting election results. At no time is the vote altered - and even if it were to be, the voter can always verify it on the ledger it to be sure it was not. When it comes to election systems, there is no transparency higher than this. Tokens are a required capability of the protocol. You can’t implement any electronic form of EIP without it.
A Distributed Ledger allows multiple organizations and people (in addition to the voter) to participate in the tally process when each of them are able to physically count all the votes, all at the same time. Since everybody’s tokens are placed in a ledger accessible to the world, anybody and everybody can count all the votes without having to trust that somebody else will get it correct.
There is no valid reason any tallying participant should get a different value than any other participant. Nevertheless, it’s comforting that more than one vendor is performing this task in a non-clandestine manner. That’s a breath of fresh air given how nearly all electronic voting systems work today.
Distributed ledger’s enable scalability by hosting all of the election results on multiple servers across the distributed ledger net work. This provides several benefits automatically, including some element of fault tolerance as well as security by widening the attack surface (it’s harder to take down multiple network nodes than a single one).
While distributed ledgers are optional, it’s hard to scale a large, geographically dispersed election without them. The alternative is a large centralized server, possibly replicated. Either one will work, which is why distributed ledgers are optional.
While not required, Blockchain technology can add some nice features with respect to security and immutability. When election data is stored in a Blockchain data structure, it becomes tamper resistant, because any attempt to change any of the shared data is automatically detected.