Will Blockchain Be Able to Assist Elections in the Future?
Every time new elections take place, people and government representatives begin a never-ending discussion on how to make voting more effective and secure. More than that, there is a lack of accessibility and trust regarding ballot elections. Countries and cities search for revolutionary methods to transform voting and make it more transparent and trustworthy. Many agree that paper voting should be replaced; as a result, some nations are experimenting and implementing online voting. Some of the examples of online-held elections are Estonia, Brazil, Malaysia, and the United States.
However, as promising as it sounds, the concept still needs a lot of development. It fears the threats of hacked and leaked information, corrupted ballots and illegal interferes. These struggles inspire to search for a better solution. Therefore, many governments are looking at blockchain technology, and its features to make elections more organized and reliable. Blockchain seems like a silver bullet for genuine polls, but it has many obstacles in its way. In this article, we will discuss how a blockchain election system can assist elections and what barriers does it face.
The Role of Blockchain in Elections
Ballot-based voting has never been perfect. Lost votes, compromised tickets, bribery, influence by candidates, and so on, all these perils have been a significant risk of a current voting system. For ages, governments have been trying to solve most, if not all, of these problems. That’s how online elections came to life. The concept is promising; it should make voting more accessible, error-free, and transparent. However, it’s not as ideal as planned. One of the unfortunate examples is 2016 the US presidential election when Russian hackers got into a private database holding around 500 000 votes. The data of a half million voters was compromised.
As an example shows, standard online systems are too sensitive to hacker attacks. Therefore, everyone began talking about a more advanced system. It is how blockchain came to the picture. This innovative technology has benefits of its immutable nature, transparent data exchange, and an extensive database. With that in mind, blockchain could solve many issues linked to lack of security, transparency, and privacy of voters.
Some countries are already experimenting with an enhanced platform to provide the best outcome for their citizens. In August 2018 Japan tried blockchain in one of its most innovative cities Tsukuba. Zug, a town in Switzerland, held an experimental blockchain-based election. A recent famous example is the blockchain election in West Virginia.
The Kaspersky Lab Business Incubator created Polys – one of the first blockchain election voting system based on Ethereum ledger. Many followed this example; now there are plenty of blockchain-based voting systems. Some of the projects to take a look at are Follow My Vote, VoteWatcher, VotoSocial. There are many trials, but not many begin to use this technology massively. Why so?
What Issues Does Blockchain-Based Election Face?
Blockchain provides many great features that could reshape elections around the world. Yet, many skeptics tend to disagree. You may ask why? To begin with, blockchain-made transactions are anonymous, it works excellent for financial exchange, but when it comes to voting, a person would have to declare his or her identity. The second flaw of the system is public keys. Most likely, voters would receive public keys to access the system, but what if a person loses it? Then it becomes hard to prove the truth and provide an additional key. Moreover, these codes would be easy to duplicate and make fake copies which would jeopardize elections.
Another issue is the system itself. It would have to be large and able to store all votes, yet be accessible for only one specific area. That would cause it to face similar hazards as for the standard online platform. Thus, it’s hard to answer the question if blockchain at its current stage is an ideal solution to solve all major problems that are facing elections.
The election process is convoluted and requires careful attention. Old methods of dealing with votes don’t work as effectively as it used to. Therefore, progressive countries and cities are searching for better ways to improve the election’s security, privacy and make it more accessible for everyone. Some governments are experimenting with electronic voting, and some are already looking further to more advanced technologies. Could blockchain be the answer to all of the threats that nowaday elections are facing? It’s hard to tell, especially, when the technology is still in its developing stage. Yet, soon it is possible to expect to rely on digital solutions to assist elections.