Blockchain Benefits For Elections And Voting Systems From Around the World
Japan, Switzerland And The US Experience On Using Blockchain In Their Polling System
One of the key pillars of any healthy democratic system is the presence of independent and impartial elections in a nation. In several parts of the world including the US and Sierra Leone, enthusiasts of blockchain assert that the innovative technology is in a position of bringing to a whole new level an element of impartiality, transparency, as well as efficacy to the balloting process.
Aside from zeal of the blockchain society, as well as the support they are enjoying from a number of electoral entities, several endeavors of executing the expertise have in some cases just received varied accomplishment, and have also faced passionate disapproval.
Japan’s Systematic Center Trials Blockchain
Late last month, the Tsukuba city, which is one of the cities in Japan, trialed the usage the innovative technology in the polling system. In many ways, the city has been kwon to have tight relationship with methodical research. Therefore, the latest blockchain pilot is Tsukuba’s most recent attempt to explore innovative ways to revolutionize its polling system.
In Tsukuba’s city’s case, the electorate were in a position to take part in the vote by making use of their My Numeral Card, which comprised of a twelve figure ID integer which was given to everyone in the country. The new system came to the fore in 2015.
Tsukuba’s official website indicated that the electorate were in a position of casting votes for the execution of the diverse social programs. Voters were in a position to decide on which of the thirteen creativities they felt was a priority in terms of giving monetary support. This was variable on the advancement of machines to augment the diagnosis of cancer to programs for comprehensive movement in cities as well as innovative tools for open-air undertakings.
According to Cointelegraph, the pilot program was carried out to determine the ability of using blockchain’s independent and crystal clear properties. This would be useful in minimizing any element of deceit in the polling process.
In spite of the fact that the city’s leader, Tatsuo Ugarashi was in the beginning uncertain about the potential of the innovative technology, he later realized that the process is simple and seamless. Even though the latest trail that Japan conducted with blockchain seems to have been accomplished seamlessly, not all the endeavors by the administration to take advantage of the potentials of the innovative technology have been embraced by everyone.
Sierra Leone: Blockchain Poll That Did Not Take Off
Sometime in March this year, Sierra Leone was reportedly the pioneer nation in the world to make use of the innovative technology in the voting process. Information published by a Swiss firm known as Agora Technologies indicated that it has supervised the pioneer blockchain-based voting process.
However, the actuality came be something else. This is because the firm had essentially been overseeing the electoral process, as well as running a detached blockchain provisional process in conjunction with the poll to show the way future elections are supposed to be done using the innovative technology.
Sierra Leone’s electoral agency (NEC) the agency which oversees the elections in the nation were bothered by the statements and went ahead to deny the use of innovative technology in the electoral process. Leo Gammer, Agora’s CEO, was compelled to correct the statements earlier made by the firm which seemed to have been misrepresentative.
However, the fact is that the group was ascribed to make trials using their own technological structure alongside the election process. This is a clear indication that aside from the mass media agitation, government agencies are slowly embracing the innovative ways of ensuring that electoral processes are more proficient, with blockchain being one of the vital ways of doing so.
In spite of the ostensibly cordial dealings with Sierra Leone’s electoral agency, there have been mixed reactions of Agora’s participation in the poll. According to Morris Marah, who is also the founder Tech Hub, an initiative based in Freetown, the initiatives of Agora are worth emulating. He however asserts that the firm did not in actual sense test the project since they fundamentally used result documents of the agency and inserted it into their system. Apparently, this is what has been done elsewhere, thus making it not a new venture.
Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Trails Blockchain Polling
In the past couple of years, the municipality of Zug in Switzerland has become a little less renowned for its highland sights as well as its antiquated Swiss structural designs. Instead, the town has become more associated with the low taxation rates and virtual assets.
In the recent past, there has been a number of crypto firms who have established offices in the significant canton, thus leading to the town being christened ‘Crypto Valley’. The town has also been ready to entrench itself as a capital of blockchain technology. In this regard, the metropolis authorizes the payment of Bitcoin for services. Additionally, the town recently accomplished an efficacious pilot of blockchain polling.
The vote, which was minor, comprised of 72 out of 240 people who had the right to use the virtual polling system. They took place in the non-obligatory pilot poll which took place mid this year. According to the test opinion poll, voters were asked to decide on the trivial municipal matters in addition to whether they think a bockchain-based system ought to be applied for plebiscite polls in forthcoming polls.
According to the country’s news agency, three voters asserted that voting electronically was not simple, with 22 of them declaring that they would make use of the technology to file tax returns.
Additionally, 19 of them said they prefer to use the technology for paying parking fees using their virtual ID. According to Dieter Miller, the town’s communication chief, the process was a big achievement.
West Virginia Trials Blockchain Balloting, Though It Faces A Number Of Challenges
West Virginia will permit its residents who are part of the disciplined forces, alongside other inhabitants residing in other countries to take part in the polls by making use of their smartphones. This will be done in November this year through an app known as Voatz. If it takes place, this will be the first time in the world that voters use smartphones in an election.
According to officials from the state, all that voters require to take part in the poll is a well-matched Apple or Android cell phone, and of course, a ratified, authenticated municipal or Federal ID.
The concept was initially discussed at a hacking conference which was hosted in Texas by the Southwest know-how festival. The state’s Administrator, Mac Warner, was fascinated with the app’s structure of biometric validation of the fundamentals of blockchain-based security. According to the state official, the Voatz system is safe. His sentiments are also shared by startup that invented the system.
Critics Are Not Mesmerized
It is worth noting that a number of criticisms for the virtual and smartphone voting have been as directed at the particular imperfections in the programs. However, there is a section of notable personalities who are in total disagreement with the concept as a whole.
A computer scientist, who is also a cryptographer, Bruce Schneier, is opposed to the use of innovative technology in elections. In his views, the only dependable and effective way to safeguard electoral process is to utilize a system which is not hackable. Therefore, he believes that much of the process ought to be backed up with ballot paper.
Schneier is of the idea that previous attempts to computerize the electoral process has been met with probable risks of such revolution. This is evident in the wide-ranging audits which were done by Ohio and California after the 2007 elections whereby the outcomes were not impressive.
In both cases, it was noted that researchers were in a position of undetectably altering vote tallies, deleting assessment logs, in addition to stacking malware onto the systems. Even though some of these activities could be carried out remotely, there is a possibility that a couple of spasms could be executed by individuals with no more access than regular poll workers.
Apparently, critics argue that this isn’t the only illustration where digital voting apparatus have been affected. A conference held in 2017 involving Defcon hackers challenged those in attendance to compromise the machines. By the time the conference was coming to an end, malicious software had been loaded onto the system, leading to malfunctioning.
Security researchers have established that the best system is one in which the process can be verified using paper ballot, with the simplest way of achieving this being by making use of optical scan polling system. This is because it is not only the municipal that has attempted to use the virtual system, but countries like US, Switzerland and Japan have made great attempts.
In this way, the paper poll is kept, which therefore serves as the last and authentic record just in case there is need for recounting. In many ways, bombardment of criticism has not discouraged administrations from the desire to execute the technology in the coming elections.