According to statistics shared by the United States Election Project, the voter turnout for the 2016 Presidential Election was recorded at 59.7 percent of total eligible voters in the country, whereas it stood at 58.6 percent for the 2012 Presidential Election.
Depending upon your political activism, you might or might not be concerned about the above statistics. However, it might get your attention that the US population is one of the least active when it comes to casting votes, what is arguably the most crucial election in the country. To compare this in real time with other nations: Belgium saw a turnout of 84% of eligible voters during its 2014 election.
This raises many questions, with two of the most important being:
Maybe about half of our population has not been particularly fond of either candidate that was chosen by the contesting parties, but should that have been the case in every presidential election within the last few decades?
Some question the transparency of the voting system itself, but has that been going on for decades with no solution posed to address those concerns?
While no one can force the likability for the presidential candidates to those who supported their opponents in the primaries, there is a very tangible solution to address the point of transparency, and it is none other than blockchain technology.
Blockchain not new to the government
While the National Defense Authorization Act that was passed last month by President Donald Trump calls for studying blockchain technology for any possibly offensive threats against the nation by the use of foreign forces, it also calls for the technology’s usage in the government’s operations.
The Secretary of Defense was given six months to present his findings in a briefing to Congress.
Although those directions are prudent enough to study the technology from a defense point of view, the Congress already has its own Blockchain Caucus in place which also claims to be “first and foremost interested in how blockchain technology can improve government services.”
Therefore, it has since caused numerous discussions within the blockchain community on how the government has not yet considered implementing a blockchain-based voting system or at the very least, started looking into the possibility of doing so.
The idea of a blockchain based voting system is not far-fetched considering how blockchain voting has already been in practice in a few jurisdictions in and outside of the US.
Examples of operational blockchain voting systems
The city of Moscow has been running blockchain voting systems in a few of its municipal programs and has most recently deployed it for its Active Citizen program. The Active Citizen program has had active participation with over 1.9 million users in over 2800 polls since its launch in 2014. This shows the government’s faith in the system and its trust, indicating that they may believe it is reliable enough to be available for a program that holds millions of users.
Furthermore, a blockchain based voting institution has been the topic of blockchain voting news lately.
The platform in question is called Voatz, and it recently ran seed funding of $2.2 million with Overstock’s subsidiary leading the round for it. The system has won numerous awards over several locations and plans to reach out to multiple institutions with its capabilities soon.
How will blockchain voting help?
Blockchain-based voting systems can work in different ways, through one’s mobile device using its fingerprint sensor or through the system’s app on designated polling stations. However, regardless of the manner in which the system is used, it is bound to be extremely secure and transparent since the use of blockchain ensures that data is immediately processed and shared with multiple sources, leaving no room for manipulation.
That is why this particular method of voting could directly and effectively address the pressing issue of voter confidence and that in turn could help increase voter turnout, making the most critical elections within the country to be decided with not just half of the country’s eligible population.
At the pace that the things are currently moving within the country, it seems highly unlikely for blockchain to be adopted for voting anytime soon.
However, if transparency is required in the voting system then the general population needs to demand it, and that might cause the designated people to start looking into making the necessary changes.