Ever since the emergence of blockchain technology, it has been recommended as the solution to virtually every problem. From supply chain, legal tenders, to real estate, blockchain technology has proven beneficial. However, there is one sector experts believe blockchain may be counterproductive. Experts do not believe that blockchain will be beneficial if it is used during elections. Even if elections are frustrating with malfunctioning machines and long lines to contend with, blockchain technology may not be the answer.
An associate computer science professor at Princeton, Arvind Narayanan, had this to say about it:
“Be our guest if you want to convince Walmart to use blockchains for grocery tracking. However, you’ll be crossing the line if you apply it to critical infrastructure like voting”.
Blockchain technology uses computers to create shared, decentralized and secure digital ledgers. It is the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin was the first application of blockchain. However, various use cases have been discovered over the years.
Blockchain And The Voting Systems
In May, West Virginia used a blockchain based system to carry out a mobile election. This system allowed residence of the state who reside abroad to vote remotely. They could submit their ballots via Voatz. This was the technology the state used during its primary elections allowing over 140 West Virginians to vote.
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On Monday, New York Times published a paper by Alex Tapscott, the cofounder of the Blockchain Research Institute. This publication was about how blockchain can be used to solve the issues that have plagued the United States voting system for years. He suggested that a transition from in person voting to digital voting is key to conducting free and fair elections that are also not stressful.
The opinion wasn’t accepted by some voting and blockchain experts. For example, Angela Walch, an associate professor at St. Mary’s School Of Blockchain and Law Research posted a tweet shortly after stating:
“Please stop recommending blockchain technology for matters like voting because it is too critical. Voting experts do not believe that blockchain technology is going to be beneficial if it is applied in the United States voting system. It is irresponsible to mislead policy makers and the public”.
Another expert, the executive director of VotingWorks, Ben Adida said that blockchain technology doesn’t not address the major challenges of the voting process.