As America is gearing up for its elections next month, government officials and cybersecurity experts are beginning to express their concerns over a blockchain voting system. West Virginia launched a blockchain voting app to allow citizens overseas to vote in the primary elections – an app that was a huge success.
Despite its incredible success in the primaries, a number of top officials are beginning to voice their true feelings over the system and they sound a bit scared. West Virginia is planning to use the same app next month to allow military personnel and civilians stationed or living overseas to vote on election day.
Fears of Hacks
During the last election, the Democrats claimed that Hillary Clinton was the subject of a Russian email hack that ended up costing the party the race. Given what happened, they are keen to make sure no hacks occur in this election. This means that when it comes to digital voting, the Democrats are extra wary – and rightly so. They fear that a digital voter’s device could be compromised and that the vote could be altered before it’s sent to the blockchain.
While this is a possibility, a virus or malware script of this nature is unlikely to hit all military personnel from West Virginia before election day. This is due to the fact that use of personal mobile devices is limited when on the battlefield. The belief is that there are a number of military personnel who will be voting with their devices currently out on operations, giving them no time to be infected with this potential malware script.
Giving Citizens a Chance to Have Their Say
Blockchain voting systems give people stationed and living overseas the chance to have their say without flying home. While many nations around the globe offer heavily discounted flights for overseas citizens to return home so they can vote, it’s just not a viable option for the military.
This new blockchain voting system – which is still in its early days – gives citizens who are fighting for their country a chance to have their say in the elections, something that has previously never been possible. In fact, Mac Warner – West Virginia Secretary of State – had to miss out on voting in the 2012 and 2014 elections due to the fact he was stationed in Afghanistan – this is also one of the reasons West Virginia is pioneering this new technology.
Other Countries Following Suit
Blockchain voting appears to be very popular around the globe, Russia has even been trailing its own blockchain voting system in a bid to shut the door on claims the elections are rigged. Elsewhere, Japan is also working on a blockchain voting system, however rather than being used for government elections, it’s being used to help a province select its next charitable cause to support. A whole host of other countries have expressed an interest in building their own blockchain voting system, and the advantages of these new systems are unparalleled.
Many cybersecurity experts are wary of the new technology, especially when used in state elections. They fear that countries and hacking groups with a vested interest in the outcome of elections will now have the motivation to hack this new system. As with all new technology, there is the potential for security flaws and we have seen this with the sheer number of crypto exchanges that have been hacked over the years. Hopefully, every aspect of the voting process is thoroughly audited by security experts to ensure there are no flaws, but only time will tell if this proves to be a reality.