Ukraine: Secure Voting in a War Zone

How Ukraine can run a safe and provably legitimate election, despite ongoing Russian invasion and occupation

Updated: Friday, May 24, 2024

Current Status

President Zelenskyy's 4-year term officially expired on Monday May 20, 2024.

Due to the ongoing war, martial law is in effect, and elections have been cancelled. The decision cites high risks of physical danger, significant costs, and logistical challenges, particularly given the millions of Ukrainians engaged in the front lines or displaced abroad.

There are growing questions, especially among international allies, about the absence of a plan for democratic elections.

New Democratic Technology is Now Available

The SIV Protocol (opens in a new tab) has been developed to create far more accessible elections — enabling quick, remote participation — while also withstanding extreme levels of attack. It creates mathematical proof of correctness, using well-vetted computer science and cryptography tools.

It is designed to meet the criteria of (1) Authenticated Voters, (2) Verifiable Results, and (3) Private Voting. It also provides powerful remediation capabilities, and solutions for protecting against authentication attacks, server penetration, vote selling, device malware, and privacy violations.

This protocol has already been used successfully in government-grade elections in the United States.

The Power of Free and Fair Elections in Ukraine

For the Ukrainian People: Holding an election amplifies Ukrainians' voices and democratic legitimacy, and can invigorate everyone to keep fighting for freedom, even amidst these incredibly challenging times.

For the Zelenskyy Administration: Free and fair elections reaffirm their mandate, demonstrate commitment to democratic principles, and attract greater international aid from other supportive democracies.

For Pro-Democracy Allies: Witnessing a fair election strengthens global stability and reinforces democratic values worldwide.

For a Pro-Russia Audience: It provides evidence about the official Russian narrative claiming the Ukrainian people desire liberation. The Kremlin claims the Zelenskyy administration is corrupt and illegitimate: "We are not carrying out aggression against the Ukrainian people, but against the group that seized power in Kyiv." By successfully holding a free and fair election, 30 million Ukrainians can directly respond to this stated justification for the "Special Military Operation".

What SIV Solves

1. Safety: Ensure the protection of voters and election administrators by greatly reducing the need for in-person voting infrastructure, which is especially hard-to-defend in an active war zone.

2. Accessibility: Enable participation for all Ukrainians, including those on the front lines and abroad, to uphold the legitimacy of the election.

3. Cost: Greatly reduces the cost to run a secure election, maintaining budgets for defense and other vital needs.

4. Strong Verifiability of Election Integrity: Creates strongly verifiable elections, where voters and independent parties can verify for themselves that election results are legitimate.

A Powerful Tool Against Future Authoritarianism

In addition to the immediate benefits, SIV's strong cryptography enables far more difficult to suppress democratic infrastructure.

Tyranny is built upon a tiny group controlling the narrative of a vastly larger number of subjects. History has shown that dictatorships weaken or even collapse when citizens can provably see and coordinate around their fellow citizens' true preferences.

The SIV protocol is a powerful democratic tool, enabling digital citizenship. Once someone participates in a single SIV election, their device creates irrefutable, unforgeable cryptographic proof that their government at one point recognized them as a unique, legitimate citizen. This self-sovereign proof of unique citizenship remains usable even under later anti-democratic, suppressive governments.

Implementing it now ensures that, regardless of any election or war outcomes, Ukrainian people can sustain large-scale democratic practices.

Next Steps

This initiative is under active development.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, we would like to hear from you.

If you know people who may be interested, please let them know about it.