Blockchain technology is looking to revolutionize yet another industry, voting. Blockchain, defined as a decentralized, digitized, and public ledger generally used in cryptocurrency transactions, has a wide range of additional commercial applications. This technology can be implemented to verify transactions, digitize and share documents, and secure the transmissions of sensitive materials.
With recent news regarding voting fraud, videos of hackers gaining access to voting booth terminals within just a few minutes, and the scale of Russian interference in our past presidential election, one of the most crucial aspects of our government, voting, seems to be under attack from all fronts. Due to the inadequate security of current voting systems, blockchain appears to be a promising addition to our outdated and ineffective voting methods.
There are already numerous startups creating blockchain-based voting systems, such as Follow My Vote and Votem. By creating a system for securely sharing a database of records, blockchain voting can potentially eliminate voter fraud as well as make the entire process simpler, thus increasing the number of voters that participate. Additionally, several aspects could theoretically improve the capabilities of election commissions; the cost of elections, their transparency, and a guarantee that every vote is counted, can all be ensured and enhanced.
While this sounds great, there are significant downsides to blockchain voting. Relying on computers to handle the future of a city, state, or country can be risky. Although in my opinion, with the state of current election performance and security, I don’t think it can get much worse. Furthermore, with blockchain’s ability to verify each vote, unwanted individuals could potentially see who someone voted for as well. While this doesn’t seem like a negative thing at first, it can create undesired political tension between those with power and those without (not that this isn’t already the case).
Like any network transmission, the possibility of malware interfering with the data at any point of the process is always concerning. Within a blockchain voting system, if a voter’s device alters a vote before it even reaches the blockchain, the increased security of the blockchain does even not come into play.
Even with these possible issues and vulnerabilities of blockchain voting, it is safe to say that voting will make the complete switch to digital soon, with or without the aid of blockchain. Whether this future system of voting will be a positive or negative change is something that we will just have to wait to experience for ourselves. However, with the embarrassing incompetence of current methods, I think the only direction we can go is up.
Shankland, Stephen. 05 Nov 2018. CNET. No, blockchain isn’t the answer to our voting system woes. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/news/blockchain-isnt-answer-to-voting-system-woes/.