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As controversy continues to swirl around votes cast during the U.S. presidential election more than three weeks ago, the Kaspersky Lab Cyber Security case-study competition organized by the Economist magazine, now underway, is demonstrating the positive role that technology can play in democracy—including the development of a secure digital voting system. And that's exactly what UMUC's Cyber Padawans and teams from around the world, including local rivals George Mason University and the Maryland Cybersecurity Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, are competing to design.

UMUC's Cyber Padawans propose "a voting system for the modern world," which mitigates anonymous voting, traceable votes, and the counting of valid votes among other specific security challenges. Padawans Patrick Gill, Nikolas Roby and Mike Williams are competing for a $10,000 first-place prize. The second-place team receives $5,000 and the third place team earns $3,000.

Voting is underway to determine a "PEOPLE'S CHOICE" prize of $3,000.  Click HERE to see a video summary of the UMUC Cyber Padawans' proposal "Rock the Blockchain: Next Generation Voting," and to vote for your choice.  Voting runs through December 7.

"Current voting systems used in today's election systems contain many flaws," according to the UMUC team's proposal, which adds that these flaws stem both from the voters' inability to verify their own vote and the system's inability to trace false votes.

"A new, trusted election system would grant those people the ability to be  heard while knowing and being able to prove [that] their vote counted, [and] while remaining anonymous," the proposal continues.

All teams must use Blockchain technology, which "could hold the key to a solution for securing digital voting systems," the competition's guidelines note. A working proof of concept is recommended by the competition's organizers and should address security challenges that include: privacy and the ability to check votes; voting under duress; availability of interim results; undecideds; and the voting aftermath.

Kaspersky Lab is the world's largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection, operating in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Its cybersecurity technologies protect more than 400 million users worldwide.

The UMUC Cyber Padawans have enjoyed tremendous success at the international level, including winning the 2014 Global CyberLympics and earning the silver medal at the 2013 Global CyberLympics.