This month pictures of people voting in Democratic primaries in the US state of Wisconsin sparked the debate of feasibility of online votings in the US elections. People showed outrage against the government for allowing elections in a time of a pandemic and forcing people to go outside and stand in line. However, the American Association for the Advancement of Science does not believe that it is yet possible for the United States to hold elections via smartphones.
“Internet voting is not a secure solution.”
The AAAS wrote in its open later to Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors dated 9th April that internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the United States and nor will it be in the foreseeable future. The Association further noted that e-voting, particularly utilizing blockchain, could result in privacy violations, ballot manipulation, and uncounted votes. Recently, the US state of West Virginia decided against the use of blockchain-based platform Voatz for residents with disabilities and citizens residing outside to cast their votes in favor of traditional paper ballots.
Blockchain voting in the past
There have been several instances where authorities have experimented with online voting using blockchain technology. However, the results have not been very successful. Italians used e-voting back in October 2017 for a referendum concerning the autonomy of Lombardy and Veneto. But the expenses for the voting hardware were high, and the time tallying the votes took so long it raised questions of fairness. The viability for blockchain is still questionable, and it is quite unlikely that the US authorities would allow online voting in the coming presidential elections. However, other countries are still moving forward with blockchain-based voting out of necessity.
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (1) suspended his campaign this week, clearing the way for the only presidential candidate Joe Biden to win the Democratic nomination. Currently, Bernie Sanders has not publicly announced his endorsement for Joe Biden.