There have been talks about the use of blockchain technology in online voting for a long time. Until now, it was either theoretical or experimental. But now, it is going to be a reality soon. Sooner than expected to be precise. The first ever online blockchain based voting in the United States is happening today.
The State of Utah will be the first state to use the blockchain technology to nominate a Republican candidate for the United States presidential elections. The Republican voters in Utah do not have to visit the polling booth to vote for the Presidential candidate. They can just sit in front of their PC at home or from wherever they are to vote online. This voting option is open for both kinds of voters – The ones who are in the state and those who are currently outside the State of Utah, whether within the United States or outside, doesn’t matter.
The voting process put in place by Smartmatic is simple. In order to do so, they just have to visit the Utah State Republican party website and register themselves. Once their party membership is confirmed, a unique cryptographic key will be sent to them. The cryptographic key is the ballot. During the voting process, the voter will have to enter the received unique cryptographic key while polling online.
The voting page will contain information about the candidates and also an option to cast the vote. For those who are not so familiar with the Republican candidates contesting in the elections, they can look them up on the same page. They can also change their vote any number of times before hitting the submit button. Once the vote is submitted, it is irrevocable.
Smartmatic is a London-based firm with a presence in 8 countries. According to their website, they have provided voting technology to 6 of these 8 countries including Belgium, Brazil, Estonia, Philippines and Uganda. The company’s technology platform will come in handy in Utah as many people in the state who are part of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are known to spend many years conducting missionary work overseas.
The Republican party’s online voting initiative is one of the kinds at this time. Until now, the overseas United States citizens serving as missionaries and military personnel were allowed to cast they votes by sending their ballot by post. The integrity and security of a postal ballot can’t be ensured due to obvious reasons. However, with blockchain based online voting, they will be casting their vote at the same time as others and will be as secure as it can get on the internet.
Voters can cast their online ballot at any time between 7 AM to 11 PM MDT (1 PM to 5 AM GMT) on the 22nd of March, 2016.
The blockchain technology has come of age and the current live implementation of online voting using this technology marks an important day in the Cryptocurrency technology history.
Ref: Voice of America