South Korea Tests Blockchain-Based Voting, will Integrate into Online Voting if Successful

February 1, 2019

South Korea is set to incorporate blockchain-based voting system with their online system of voting. This system of franchise will be used only after trials using blockchain technology for voting is successful.

According to reports, the blockchain-based system of voting should be completed by December 2018. South Korea’s National Election Commission and the Ministry of Science and ICT is tasked with improving the security for online voting. They believe that incorporating blockchain technology into the voting system will help secure online voting services.

An official at the Ministry of Science and ICT, Kim Jeong-won said, “We expect the blockchain-based voting system to enhance the reliability of online voting.”

Apart from preventing falsification of votes, the blockchain-based system of voting will also allow easy access to data by both the candidates and observers. The Ministry of Science and ICT plans to apply blockchain technology in all stages of the online electoral process. With respect to how the trial turns out, both the Ministry and the Electoral body will then incorporate blockchain technology with South Korea’s online voting system known as K-Voting.

Use Of Blockchain Technology in Community Resource Allocation

Blockchain technology-based voting system is not new in South Korea. It was first carried out in March 2018 by the country’s Gyeonggi-do Province, where it was used to determine what community project to carry out first in the budget. Although this initiative was done on a small-scale with participants only numbering about 9,000, officials believe this demonstrates the potential for blockchain technology as a tool for online voting.

Nam Kyung-pil, a government official in the Gyeonggi-do province likens the change blockchain will bring to the world to that of smartphones.

He said, “blockchains will change the world within a few years just as smart-phones did.” He believes that blockchain technology will improve direct democratic systems with the use of blockchain technology.

U.S. Midterm Elections

Blockchain technology-based systems of voting have also been tested on a small scale in West Virginia, a state in the U.S. The state announced in April that it would make provision for West Virginians living abroad such as military personnel to vote during the midterm elections. They were able to accomplish this goal by using blockchain technology in the recently held polls, with about 150 voters casting their digital ballots overseas.

Perceived Shortcomings of Blockchain-Based Voting System

Irrespective of the excitement that has trailed blockchain-based voting system, serious reservations have been shown in several areas in regards to the use of blockchain technology during elections. Some of such reservations are the possibility of de-anonymity of voters. Also, it is believed that blockchain-based voting will increase the chances of vote buying. This is because blockchain technology will make it possible to verify whether a bribed voter stuck to his part of the deal. This idea of verifying if a bribed voter played his part is impossible with the use of voting booths, as only the voter knows the choice he picked.

Blockchain-based voting systems seem to be the step in the right direction towards curbing voting irregularities and South Korea is at the forefront of its adoption.

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