Last week’s “Blockchain This Week” had talked about how security risks can persist even with blockchain-based voting systems, as pointed out in a report prepared by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The report had specifically raised questions about blockchain-based voting systems like Voatz, which has been used in the US municipal elections, yet reportedly suffers from data security issues.
Nevertheless, some researchers persist with the claim that blockchain technology could be the answer to many of the concerns raised about prevalent methods of voting during elections.
The debate about the efficacy of blockchain-based voting systems also picked up pace amid the 2020 United States presidential election, which saw a rise in the number of in-mail ballots due to Covid-19, thus delaying the counting process substantially.
A blockchain-based voting system works with a distributed network of computers to verify transactions. Once verified, results are recorded in blocks and linked cryptographically to the preceding block. Blockchain-based systems can work well in ensuring against double votes, as also, creating a transparent and yet non-tamperable network for all stakeholders, which could be the election agency, the government and selected groups of people tasked with ensuring free and fair elections.
Maxim Rukinov, head of the Distributed Ledger Technologies Center of St. Petersburg State University, told Cointelegraph that blockchain allows for a system of fair elections to take place within a trusted environment between participants who generally do not trust each other: “With blockchain, you can make voting available and increase the transparency of any election. In a perfect scenario, the results of such a vote cannot be faked.”
According to Don Tapscott, cofounder of the Blockchain Research Institute, within a blockchain-based system, public trust in the voting process is achieved through cryptography, code, and collaboration among citizens, government agencies, and other stakeholders.
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