One of the first instances of implementation of remote blockchain in the voting system commenced in West Virginia’s midterm elections on November 15. The secretary of state, Mac Warner, put out an official statement to acknowledge this achievement. As per the reports, a total of 144 military personals stationed in 24 different countries made use of the blockchain based mobile service Voartz, to cast their votes remotely in these midterm elections. Mr. Warner said,
“This is a first-in-the-nation project that allowed uniformed services members and overseas citizens to use a mobile application to cast a ballot secured by blockchain technology.”
The US started testing the remote voting system through Voartz platform during its general elections in April. However, then, only a few military personals and absentee who are governed by Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) were able to cast their votes.
The main aim of testing a platform like Voartz was to increase the number of voters, especially from military backgrounds, who are mostly deployed overseas. There are a total of 2 Million Military personals located outside the States, out of which only a mere 368,516, or 18% received ballots in 2016. The figure went down to 11% when counting rejections and sluggish votes were taken out of consideration.
The Future of Blockchain Based Voting Systems
Even though Secretary Of State Mr. Warner is calling it a success, his deputy chief of staff does not believe that given technology is advanced enough to be expanded beyond remotely situated military personals. His statement made it quite clear.
“Secretary Warner has never and will never advocate that this is a solution for mainstream voting.”
Many experts are critical and concerned about the mobile-based voting system. Mr. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the Chief Technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said,
“Mobile voting is a horrific idea. It’s Internet voting on people’s horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote.”
While quite a few also believe, if the technology gets refined and makes advancements with the time, it could well replace the mainstream form of voting, which are void by manipulations, counting issues, fraudulent voting and many more. Bradley Tusk of Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies is one such advocate of the technology who believes the blockchain can revolutionize the voting system and the increased number of voters will lead to a stronger Democracy.