Does Blockchain Technology Make Elections Safer and Trustworthy ?

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As per reports, it can take up to more than half an hour for a person in the United States to cast his or her vote. This adds up to long wait times for voting locations across the country. Various factors contribute to the slowing of the voting process, such as:

1. Most of the voters take a lot of time to think and figure out how to fill out the ballot.
2. Voters have to be guided with well-trained poll workers but in reality, we find poorly trained poll workers.
3. Poor election booth designs which makes it difficult for people to understand the logistical procedures.
4. Voting takes place for on a specific date, for a specified window of time. This makes it inconvenient for some people who are not available during that specific time period.

Lower Voter Turnouts

As per reports, voter turnout has regularly dropped in House of Representatives elections, since the 1840s. During the election period of Barack Obama, the ratio is a bit on the higher side ranging to 55-57% of the voting-age population, but in the rest of the elections, the ratio plunged to 35-37%. This was because Obama had opened more voting opportunities, creating more new voters from remote locations.

West Virginia Introduces Voting App

Blockchain Vote

Recently the state of Virginia began to use a blockchain based mobile voting app to help people who don’t have time to cast vote for the midterms. The name of the app is Voatz created by a Boston-based startup. The app uses blockchain encryption so that people can vote from a remote location, with a high level of security. West Virginia is mainly focused on the military people who are deployed abroad. This digital boting makes it easy for them to cast their vote while abroad. State Secretary of West Virginia quotes that these should be considered in the top list while making an election as they are the one who risks their life to protect the country. Voters can register for the application by uploading a selfie and photo identification, and they also undergo a multi-factor authentication process after which they are able to log in. In this way, West Virginia becomes the first state in the US to try and apply blockchain technology in the election voting process. Countries like Russia, Japan, Switzerland, and Ukraine are also running behind to apply a similar kind of blockchain-based voting system to record votes securely and efficiently.

Disadvantages of Blockchain in an Election

In a democratic country where voting has to be a uphold the public’s trust, which not only entrusts that the declared winner has received the largest number of votes but there is also integrity in the system as a whole. People need to be assured that their casted votes are counted and others are also accurately counted for, without any involvement of bribery or corruption by a middle beneficiary. They also need to ensure that local tallies are communicated or transferred safely to state election officials.

Devices are vulnerable, hence so are networks. There are many-hidden security flaws lying inside each and every piece of hardware and software on earth. Other countries are always looking for ways to commit targeted attacks against each other and nefariously influence voting procedures through various hacking methods.

Buying Votes

Blockchain-based voting system are certain that votes cannot be tampered or changed. But what about the people who are actually casting the votes? Can’t they be influenced or persuaded for the benefit of getting a vote? Sometimes even a bottle of beer is enough to get a vote to one side. Though it is considered under criminal offenses of the country, the possibility cannot be completely ignored. For this, educating citizens to make them understand the true value of the voting and its purpose, are vitally importance.

Voting via Handset Devices

It is true that the data which is recorded on the open ledger of the blockchain technology is immutable and transparent, making it highly secure and safe. Hence, each vote is considered to be secure. A vote may be recorded correctly, but that doesn’t mean that it was the same vote that the voter wanted to cast. The voter uses their mobile device to cast a vote which may contain malware or software which can easily switch between the options. Even after this has happened the voter has no idea about the switching, nor will the blockchain technology know about this. Relying on the manufacturer of the blockchain system is also less feasible to the general public when the case is on the election (a Country topic).

Conclusion

Regardless of risks, blockchain based voting remains very promising. It creates greater security assurances that votes are properly accounted for and that third-parties have not interfered with the voting process.

Disclaimer

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