Safe and reliable? Why blockchain is not yet used for elections in the world

With American elections in check, blockchain is on the agenda for the security of the electoral system.

Safe and reliable? Why blockchain is not yet used for elections in the worldNOTÍCIAS

The controversies of the US elections – fake ballot boxes, coercion of opponents and threats from President Trump – rekindle the debate about the security of elections on paper ballots and the models of electronic elections around the world.

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Among the technologies that offer transparency and inviolability, blockchain stands out, being used successfully by thousands of companies worldwide in search of data security and accessibility. But why is blockchain not used globally in elections?

The first answer may be obvious: blockchain is a relatively young technology and there are no successful cases of its use in elections. Russia has held blockchain votes, as have smaller nations like Georgia.

The second response involves the resistance of populations to rely on a system of electronic and remote voting, especially after social networks have brought up conspiracy theories that put even successful experiences in check, such as Brazil.

In Brazil, the minister of the Supreme Electoral Court, Luís Roberto Barroso, opened a bidding process to seek a cheaper alternative to electronic voting, including considering tests with online votes, in an attempt to reduce abstentions. Sandro Vieira, coordinator of the „Elections of the Future“ project at TSE, told BBC News Brasil:

„From a theoretical point of view, we have no doubt that the online model is cheaper and more efficient. Now we have to do the studies to see if, from a practical point of view, it is feasible, if we can avoid fraud, if we can ensure that the voter has respected his will at the time of the election“.

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There are countries that adopt online voting for citizens living abroad, such as Armenia, Australia, Canada, the United States, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama and Switzerland.

In Estonia, famous for adopting disruptive technologies, 44% of voters have used online voting for over a decade.

In 2018, the United States also began using the Voatz blockchain app in part of electoral jurisdictions, confirming the identity of voters with blockchain and encryption. At the end of the vote, a ‚receipt‘ is issued to the citizen and electoral college to ensure authenticity in case a recount is needed.

The app, however, has been criticised by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who pointed to a number of vulnerabilities in the platform, including loopholes for hacker attacks. The company contested.

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Switzerland is also seeking to launch online voting from 2021 onwards, inaugurating what could be a trend to be adopted across Europe.

In Brazil, despite the skeptical position of President Jair Bolsonaro – who was elected by electronic vote – electronic ballot boxes have survived 23 years and 12 elections, without scandals or fraud. With the acceleration of blockchain adoption in state procedures, it is to be expected that the debate about blockchain in elections will also enter the agenda sooner or later.