E-voting has been a major work in progress for the world to imbibe. A major part of it also included the involvement or the usage of the Blockchain technology to make it tamperproof. The news about online voting started to circulate when during the month of October, Greenland was reported to be analyzing the possibility of an online voting platform to be used in its national elections. With all the options being considered; a blockchain-based system was also among the possibilities.
Kåre Kjelstrøm, chief technology officer at Concordium, shared his thoughts on the voting basics with Cointelegraph. He said; any voting system has the basic requirement of trust; and this trust requires a number of check marks, any one of which can stand as a challenge depending on the circumstances. He went on to comment, “Any digital system that replaces a manual voting system needs to address at least those same issues to ensure trust and this has proven to be rather tricky to pull off. But blockchain may prove to be part of a solution.”
With Greenland’s work to explore blockchain technology, the news has surfaced again for the world. However, this system has been a vastly discussed, with the possibility of exploring it with blockchain. Back in 2018, in a New York Times opinion piece, Alex Tapscott said, “It’s time for online voting. Using blockchain technology, online voting could boost voter participation and help restore the public’s trust in the electoral process and democracy.”
The Main Question
Permissioned or public chains?
Amrita Dhillon, professor of economics in the department of political economy at King’s College London, shared a couple of his thoughts with Cointelegraph. He mentioned that according to his understanding, the main problem with public elections, as opposed to corporate governance, is that there cannot be a permissionless blockchain system. This is because the information of a voter is private and one cannot trust all third parties. Secondly, the problem lies with the possibility of giving the vote at a location of the voter’s choice. The difficulty comes in with the assurance of negating the fact of anyone being compelling to the voters at the point at which they submit the e-vote.
Being used for voting means a massive amount of transaction like activity taking place all at once. To ensure the technology caters to such a rigorous task, the network needs to be tested and fail-proofed.
Using blockchain for DAOs or decentralized autonomous organizations, where they are governed through online voting and are managing trillions of dollars, can be a very good use case to present, but making the same technology cater to a voting system for a nation is a whole another ballgame. In a Cointelegraph report, Katarzyna Piekarska, a left-wing politician raised a very common question for many. She said, “On the government level, your problem is: how do you create a system that is usable by citizens?”
With the limitations still being worked upon, online voting with the usage of blockchain is still in its experimental stage.