Before electronic voting machines became popularized, most U.S. elections were conducted by people on paper ballots, a practice allowing errors in counting votes. As printers and scanners became more available, the use of paper ballots was restricted by users to a select few U.S. states. By the 2000 presidential election, only five states elect their president using this method (including Vermont, which has not used paper ballots since 1838). Check these trading tips from trustpedia.io.
Although not immune to the potential for a software-related error, the security of e-voting on blockchain may help quell the current mistrust in U.S. democracy. The need for perpetual reassurance in voting security is obvious, and its importance cannot be overstated. The Electoral College system is designed to elect a president with sufficient support from the population of the United States, regardless of whether or not they earned a majority of electoral votes within individual states.
Tracing digital voting records could lead to questions regarding the validity of those records and ultimately lead to questions concerning the elections’ legitimacy. However, since advancements in Internet connectivity, it has become increasingly possible to align voting records on a blockchain transparently.
With a global network of participants, the network can be built by people to ensure that only accurate data is included and that voting data cannot be tampered with. Although the technology is still young, many corporations are already working on developing e-voting systems with blockchain. It is not only possible for the voting process to be automated; it is also possible for the voting records themselves to be encrypted and stored in an immutable medium.
Bringing Elections into the 21st Century
From a convenience standpoint, the use of blockchain could help streamline voting processes. As it stands, a lengthy list of voter qualifications must be verified by people to cast a vote by mail. Not only do voters have to verify their identity through their driver’s license or other official identification, but they must also provide proof of residency in the state they are voting from. Although voters can print out a confirmation receipt for the return of their ballot, these documents can still potentially be tampered with at any given point in time.
Adding blockchain-based technologies related to e-voting may eliminate the need for government agencies and other institutions that oversee U.S. elections to have physically-held ballots or receipts. In addition, because blockchain is decentralized, it would not be easy to alter the voting records and therefore provide voters with a higher sense of trust in the system.
With digital voting on blockchain becoming more of a reality, blockchain companies are facing criticism about the necessity of third-party oversight. Although not officially permitted yet by U.S. state governments, some individual countries such as Switzerland have already allowed anonymous e-voting since 1997. One study found that upwards of 20 percent of voters in Switzerland used anonymous e-voting to cast their votes in their 2015 election. This percentage could rise again with the addition of blockchain technology and its potential for anonymity.
A True Democracy
Blockchain voting uses cryptography, blockchains, and decentralized networks to facilitate online voting in elections. It is a new concept currently being researched and developed by many stakeholders, including universities, corporations, and governmental agencies. This article provides an overview of blockchain voting concepts, their application in existing elections, and their feasibility limitations.
Bitcoin was the first form of digital currency, which inspired an entire generation of newer, more advanced coins to enter the game. If trust in the voting process is low in the U.S., people may find value in blockchain voting.
The ability to trace votes on a blockchain could help build trust among voters and restore faith in our current form of government. If enough people share this viewpoint, blockchain voting could be adopted by people at a national level. Unfortunately, the U.S. presidential election may be too far removed by people from when blockchain voting could impact voting fraud and election results.
E-voting is already on its way toward becoming a mainstream practice, but blockchain voting applications are not likely to be implemented until the technology has developed further. Although there are a few examples of blockchain applications that have been proven to work and whose authors could potentially generate revenue from the system, it will be difficult for governments to regulate their use nationally. One major hurdle that people must overcome is complicating the voting process with additional hurdles and procedures. In addition, due to the decentralized nature of blockchain applications, it would be difficult for government agencies to pass any related laws.
In conclusion, although blockchain technology has many potential positive effects in the financial and political fields, its impact on e-voting may not be as positive as many expect. Blockchain voting could go a long way in restoring trust in U.S. elections, but it may not happen for some time. The technology may become commonplace in the United States, but it seems likely that current forms of digital voting will persist beforehand.
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