Blockchain has shown it can create and immutable chain of transactions. Alex Tapscott believes it can provide secure online voting that could increase participation, increase trust, and make absentee ballots more reliable. While current voting methods are vulnerable to hacking, suppression through polling locations, poor staffing and equipment, blockchain would create a record that is decentralized and less prone to manipulation and fraud. Some voting applications have already shown success.
- Would blockchain be more reliable than current voting methods?
- Do certain politicians benefit from making it hard to vote?
- Would you vote for blockchain-powered online voting in your state?
Messing with polling stations is one of the most common voter suppression tactics. Across the country, polling stations have been closed in minority neighborhoods, had their locations changed from election to election, and have been kept understaffed, or inaccessible, or ill-equipped, so that voters must stand in line for hours.
These tactics work to lower voter turnout and undermine confidence in the electoral process. In the 2016 election, only 55.4 percent of eligible voters actually voted — one of the lowest turnouts in two decades. In the same year, only 29 percent of Americans were very confident that the ballots cast nationwide would be counted as intended, and only two-thirds of Americans were very confident that their own ballot would be counted as intended.
Our democracy depends on addressing these vulnerabilities. The more that eligible voters participate in elections and the more transparent and durable the process, the more legitimate the outcome. Fortunately, a simple solution to the problem exists, if we allow citizens to vote online using their smartphone or home computer.
Online voting isn’t a silver bullet. It wouldn’t thwart political disinformation campaigns that rely on false tweets or bogus Facebook pages, and it wouldn’t be a solution to the problems presented by gerrymandering. However, done properly, online voting could boost voter participation, avoid administrative errors at polling stations, and help restore the public’s trust in the electoral process and democracy.
Until now, the internet as we know it has generally failed to meet basic voting system requirements: A vote must be cast and counted for the intended candidate, counted only once, remain anonymous, and be verifiable after the fact, even amid a power outage.