In its latest election, Sierra Leone used blockchain technology in the vote verification process. This West African country becomes the first country in the world to use blockchain technology to verify electoral votes.
This blockchain technology service was offered by Swiss start-up Agora, which was helping keep track of vote counting. How different is the technology from the conventional voting technologies?
Voters complete their votes on paper ballots and then Agora’s team with impartial observers registers them on the blockchain. Each vote is stored in a private and common blockchain network accessible only to polling officials, and validated on the blockchain network in real time. This reduces the chances of seeing a vote or having it tampered. The votes once managed and posted by the authorized groups can be viewed by voters, candidates and interested parties.
March 7, 2018 elections were “intended to replace incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People Congress, which has completed a maximum of two terms. Opposition leader Julius Maada Bio, from Sierra Leone’s People Party, came first in the first round with 43.3% of the vote but failed to win the majority of votes needed to win, according to the electoral commission. A second is scheduled to take place on March 27.”
Elections in Sierra Leone are a first step before blockchain technology is used in elections elsewhere in the world. Ultimately the blockchain technology is to deliver fair elections, foster democracy and minimize violence associated with election tallying.