New Blockchain Voting Systems
The Future of Elections
It is hard to imagine a hotter topic in today’s current events than voter fraud. And yet, this phenomenon is nothing new. From Nazi Germany to 21st Century U.S.A., election tampering has had its effects on outcomes for more than 90 years.
Application of blockchain in elections embeds ballots in digital code. Storage is in transparent shared databases. Technology offers safety from deletion, tampering, or revision. Each unique ID in the chain would represent one voter. To tamper with votes, a hacker would have to change the code of every block up and down the chain. Right now, that is close to impossible. There are several case studies where blockchain has overlapped traditional elections. Technology is exploiting future possibilities of the immutable distributed ledger that offers transparency and security.
West Virginia As Forerunner
West Virginia was the first state in the U.S. to test blockchain on a portion of its most recent primary. A blockchain trial run by Voatz included overseas military voters who had previously expressed concerns over their ballots not being counted. Voatz is a Boston-based startup that enables secure voting via mobile phone app using biometrics, ID verification, and blockchain technology. Two days following the election, Secretary of State Mac Warner said blockchainprovided a “heightened level of security”. However, he hasn’t yet decided whether or not to expand the trial.
Elections in Sierra Leone
Elections in Africa have already utilized blockchain technology. A research partnership in Africa between Twiga Foods and IBM is tracking microcredit loans to 220 stall retailers across Kenya using a blockchain based financing system. In March, Sierra Leone used it to compare tallies of its presidential elections in an effort to showcase possibilities. Agora CEO Leonardo Gammar told Cointelegraph that the National Electorial Commission was still interested in repeating the experiment for future elections across the country.
Horizon State is currently in talks with two governments, one of which is Indonesia, providing insight into a government’s perception of blockchain technology as applied to elections. It recently launched its consensus tools in Indonesia to measure national interest. The result was that most polls employ a paper-based system allowing for security breaches, fraud, and corruption, though officials are open to solutions that address these issues.
Blockchain offers an innovative system for voters that could potentially fix these concerns. Its traditional assets, such as its transparency, allow for following, counting and correlation by many different sources while still maintaining the privacy of the voters due to the anonymous transactions along the blockchain. Security is also key in fair elections as we need guarding and respect of each vote.