Blockchain entails logging, authenticating, and distributing records to ensure transparency among users. The technology’s application surpasses cryptocurrency or bitcoin because it guarantees fairness and saves resources, time and energy. Some of the applications of Blockchain include: voting mechanism, logistics monitoring, NFT marketplace, and internet of things, among others.
Since its main tenet is transparency, Blockchain technology effectively ensures a healthy democracy because it allows for a free and fair election process from start to finish. The voting process is quite daunting and can be marred by malpractices because the votes are managed, recorded, checked, and counted by a specific chief authority. However, with Blockchain e-voting technology, voters are empowered to complete such tasks themselves. As a result, allowing each voter to have the voting record ensures transparency. Since democracy is intertwined with integrity, it becomes the tool for safeguarding integrity in an election, hence fostering democracy, which is the rule by the people, for the people and by the people.
The technology revolutionizes elections and the voting process because the voting historic record remains unchanged, and if it is changed other voter’s records would also change citing a malpractice. Additionally, Blockchain e-voting prevents the adding of illegitimate votes. The significance of the technology is that it decentralizes trust and power from central actors, and promotes the growth of tech-enabled consensus. Blockchain technology in the voting process could be linked with smart contracts and take required action under the agreed conditions.
For instance, election results can be connected to ensure the automatic enforcement of an investment choice, manifesto promise, or other decisions. Blockchain technology, in reality, allows for a deeper transformation in society. For example, virtual administrations, using Blockchain e-voting in elections, and implementing technology based democracies. Blockchain can also be used to develop a liquid democracy, which combines a delegate system and a direct democracy that allows the citizens to regularly vote. Blockchain e-voting offers a solution from the traditional voting system by delivering a bottom-up structure, which is participatory by giving a secure and cheap e-voting system. Involving Blockchain e-voting in the national election is both ambitious and delicate, which opens up the discussion of accessibility and anonymity offered by the system.
Although Blockchain e-voting has several advantages compared to paper voting systems, and other e- voting platforms, there exist similar concerns that should be addressed. For example, coercion occurs to any voting system with remote participation such as postal votes, but using private polling booths can avoid coercion. Another concern is the accessibility to voters during elections, and some voters consider Blockchain e-voting to be complicated, especially when the system is decentralized to allow voters access data and verify that correct procedures were being followed. According to Casado- Vara and CoRCHaDo (2018), during an election, anonymity is an element of participation; however, some elections lack anonymity such as the United Kingdom, which uses a pseudonymous voting system with a code linking each ballot paper. This type of a system leaves the voters without a choice on the protection of their anonymity and end up trusting the electoral authorities.
Similarly, Blockchain e-voting is pseudonymous, making it possible to discern how people voted. However, a technical solution is ongoing to developing the systems with full anonymity. Blockchain technology poses a challenge in ensuring trust in the legitimacy, and security of the voting system. Similar to paper elections, results cannot be fully valid and fair, and the entire electorate, despite being disgruntled, must accept the results and trust the process. Apart from offering accuracy and security, Blockchain e-voting must ensure trust and confidence. Additionally, the Blockchain technology is complicated and causes a barrier to public acceptability. Blockchain e-voting assesses the potential impact, and gives consideration to the politics and values it reflects. The platform digitizes the paper voting process, and gives an alternative with appealing political foundations, and values. Traditionally, elections were managed as black-boxed, top-down, and centralized. For Blockchain e-voting the opposite is offered, in that the voting process is effectively managed by the citizens and ensures transparency, bottom-up. The traditional elections fortify the state’s authority while Blockchain e-voting asserts the people’s primacy. Therefore, Blockchain e- voting benefits that enhance democracy are vivid in its approach of a direct and decentralized system, with bottom-up, and liquid democracy.
The success of Blockchain technology will be based on how it reflects the society’s structure and values in a democracy. The traditional voting system is crippled by challenges such as vote buying where a candidate gives incentives to the voters to vote for them. With Blockchain technology, vote buying will be a thing of the past as it offers a system where voting remains open until sometime before closing the window. This gives the voters a chance to change or edit their votes before making the final decision, hence eliminating the power of the vote buyer.
Blockchain technology solves problems associated with online voting. Challenges of hacking are easily dealt with because the voting application is secure, and hackers trying to access the terminal cannot affect other different nodes. Additionally, voters can vote without exposing their political preferences or identity. The system creates certainty that each vote has a specific ID, hence, no fakes or tampering with the votes. The voters use a PC or mobile phone making voting convenient and fast compared to the traditional method. After casting votes, they are fed into an immutable Blockchain that verifies the election’s outcome without error, manipulation, or tampering. Low voter turn-out has long been a challenge in elections where voters are not motivated to participate in voting due to its time consuming nature. However, with Blockchain e-voting, the technology will be the solution to voter apathy by offering an easy and irrefutable way to vote using a PC or phone. Voter turn-out numbers would likely rise due to the convenience provided by Blockchain technology. A transparent and secure online voting system eliminates issues of delayed postal ballots or getting lost while on route to destinations. Blockchain e-voting successfully reduces time wastage on vote counting, and allows greater accessibility, hence, resulting in a higher enfranchisement. There is potential for the creation of novel and improved voting rules with the implementation of Blockchain e-voting. The Blockchain can devise and design better voting rules, and inform voters. Despite the numerous benefits of Blockchain e-voting, in an election it cannot prevent fake news or misinformation from reaching and influencing voters. However, it can ensure integrity in the voting processes. Conclusively, democracy is the rule of the people by the people and for the people. Lack of integrity is the most significant factor that inhibits democracy, and with the traditional voting system there are many loopholes for corruption, such as voter fraud and lack of integrity. The Blockchain e-voting technology platform removes e-voting challenges such as securely maintaining records, and ensuring transparency, and auditability. Integrity of elections is the single most important activity for democratic governments. Therefore, the system effectively ensures a healthy democracy due to observation of integrity in the election process.