Elections And Blockchain

The world seems to be transforming rapidly, especially in terms of tech and software. Just as the introduction of internet caused startling advancements in the wink of an eye, on the same lines the invention of Cryptocurrency and Blockchains has revolutionized the online trade and digitization domain, increasing the opportunities of revenue generation for genius, logical minds. Apart from causing a manifold increment in the online economy, this technology now seems to update almost all the traditional systems and processes going on, replacing the human workers with computing devices.

Before discussing the application of Blockchains in the electoral procedure, let’s get to an insight of how they actually work. Presumably, almost every single person in this era is now aware of online shopping, and yes, it’s an ease bringing buyers to sellers through a third-party involvement, such as e-bay, Amazon, and all the high rated online shopping stores. But if the user wants to get in touch with the customer without any third-party involvement, Blockchain comes into action!

So, What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain enables the buyer to interact with the desired seller through an interface on his computing machine, ensuring the trust relationship through software association. One of its remarkable successes is the decentralization of online trade and money transactions through distributed ledges. A ledge is nothing but a public, every-one owned and distributed database, tracking record of transactions taking place in the entire network. It’s a regularly updated history maintenance that is unalterable for the users or the nodes, that enables them to validate and implement the transaction within seconds. Gone are the days when transaction beyond country boundaries required a currency dealer, high commission and time delays!

With the lack of third-party engagement comes in the threat and risk issue, which is efficiently catered by this technology. Providing a decentralized ledges system (instead of an out-of-access cloud) effectively rules out the need of central control system. Moreover, the immutable data recording and regular updating on all nodes pretty much terminate the chance of any sort of misconception. The encryption and validation feature furthermore develops the users’ trust in the technology. Plus, the customization settings for public/private modes make this technology virtually hack-free, confirming the peer to peer interaction at the same time. Providing all these features in a single technology, bless the founders who came up with such a robust idea!

How Does It Aid In Elections?

Due to all the advantages mentioned before, Blockchain finds its numerous applications in diversified areas of study. Keeping aside the Bitcoin and all other Cryptocurrencies, this technology is now making its way in the electoral procedures. Though this extraordinary application of blockchain appears to be inquisitive enough, yet it also holds a controversial side with the tech and the political experts arguing on its consequences. With a decentralized immutable ledger providing access to every single participating individual, this technology seems to banish all the problems previously being faced in the casting of votes. The major issues faced in elections compromises the voter validation issue, stray, tender, challenge and duplicate votes issue, ink dispersal issue, and then the result compiling issues involving counting errors. Blockchain voting eliminates all these issues effectively by providing an open-source platform to track all the votes being cast. Though the extent of blockchain use in the elections of Sierra Leone still stays controversial, yet the views of the technology founder Leonardo Gammar cannot be neglected who states,
If you believe that most countries will use some form of digital voting 50 years from now, then blockchain is the only technology that has been created which can provide an end-to-end verifiable and fully-transparent voting solution for this future.
But the problem persists as the notion of the remote user monitoring through a software gets under question. Even if facial recognition or biometric identification systems are equipped with this technology, yet the risk of manipulated voting exists. Duncan Buell, a computer science professor at the University of South Carolina popped up against this system saying,
I am strongly opposed to electronic voting, and I think the whole notion of internet voting is completely nuts. There are a number of issues that come up. The first is authentication. How do you verify who’s at the other end?
Keeping in view the scenario, the integration of blockchain technology into electoral procedures seems feasible, but after a number of necessary modifications. But the importance of this merger cannot be denied keeping in view the rapid dissemination of information from paper pen to the software-based notepads. This dissemination is the ultimate destination of the technology thirst one must harmonize with. Mike Queen, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner’s communications director said:

[The office of the Secretary believes] blockchain does provide a heightened level of security on this type of mobile voting app. We're genuinely hoping that will allow this type of a mobile app to be made available in the future – as early perhaps as our general election – to military voters.

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