Three really good questions ReBoot2018.
Yes, it can. We (I work for Horizon State) do not and will not be doing our own blockchain. We are blockchain agnostic and will use a variety of different public, transparent blockchains to suit different customer requirements.
Voters are identified using a hashing system. I’ll copy one of our FAQ answers below which explains more about how that works.
Most governments don’t want to build they’re own technology if they can help it. Software development is not their core competency and they have found, over decades of expensive failures and dead-ends, that they get a better outcome by using commercial, off-the-shelf software when they can. Plus, reputable governments will want the transparency that comes with using a blockchain.
How does Horizon State ensure the integrity and confidentiality of votes?
Horizon State have designed a multi-tiered data segmentation approach in order to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of votes. In a nutshell, this system prevents any single entity from being able to work out how any specific individual cast their vote. Read on for a slightly more technical explanation.
The issue is this: If Horizon State know the voter identities and Horizon State cast the vote then we could identify how any specific person voted. And if the government, or anyone else could see a vote on the blockchain and the voter identity then they could see how that person voted. Therefore, the Horizon State Platform will not hold voter identities. At all. This information is, and must remain, external to the platform. In addition, the voter identity must not be recorded in the blockchain.
The way we solve for this is by receiving an anonymous electoral roll in the form of a set of hashes which represent voters. The government (or other authority running a vote) take the confidential user identity information and pass it through a one-way cryptographic hash function and then provide that set of hashes (and no other information) to Horizon State. Once Horizon State get this hash from the government, they hash the information again to create a second hash. This creates what could be considered to be a ‘user-id’.
The vote from this user-id can then be cast safely because no party holds the entire chain of information that would now be required to work out who voted for whom. That is,
Government has identity and 1st Hash
Horizon State has 1st Hash and 2nd Hash
Blockchain has 2nd Hash and Vote
Therefore you can see that Horizon State has no way to infer identity and the government has no way to infer 2nd hash from 1st hash and therefore is unable to look at the blockchain and identify a particular voter.