In a very interesting and encouraging development, the Thai government hinted that they might be using blockchain technology during elections. The Bangkok Post reported that the National Electronic and Computer Technology Center, also called Nectec, has developed blockchain technology for e-voting.
“Nectec developed blockchain technology for e-voting that can be applied to national, provincial or community elections, as well as business votes such as the board of directors,” said the head of cybersecurity at Nectec, Chalee Vorakulpipat. He mentioned that this is aimed at reducing fraud and maintaining data integrity.
While the technology will be tested in closed groups, as of present, while the population at large still will have traditional voting, the report mentioned that this would give the local population time to adjust to the new technology. As 5G technology is adopted, all the voters will be savvy enough to be connected.
Vorakulpitat explained to the Bangkok Post that using blockchain in elections requires an election controller, voters, and candidates. Before the elections the candidate will be asked to register through the system, a controller can then verify their qualifications and eligibility. After voting, results will be calculated faster as data is sent directly to the election controller and the candidates will be able to check their own votes. Voters also needn’t travel to voting locations and stand in a long queue to cast their votes. They can easily do that online as 5G technology is becoming more accessible. This eliminates the middlemen who need to collect data from each area to a central location. Probable frauds and tampering associated with traditional voting are also eliminated with such a technology.
The system is being tested at small groups like universities and voting organizations etc. Nectec also has shown interest in working with the Digital Government Agency.
NECTEC is a statutory government organization that operates under the purview of the National Science and Technology Development Agency and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The organization chiefly promotes the development of computing, electronics, IT and telecommunications.
Apart from Thailand, many other countries are also considering opting Blockchain technology to conduct their elections. In March 2018, Sierra Leone claimed that they became the first nation to implement blockchain based elections. Zug, a city in Switzerland, conducted their municipal elections using Blockchain. The Japanese city of Tsukuba also did trials. In the United States, a successful trial of mobile blockchain voting for West Virginians in the armed services stationed overseas was also reported.