The government of Tsukuba has tested a new online voting system based on the My Number identification system and blockchain technology.
Nowadays, blockchain is being actively implemented into a great number of business and social processes. Voting is one of the procedures where blockchain can be extremely useful as it is able to ensure a higher level of accuracy and fairness.
A number of working groups all over the world are trying to apply this technology to voting processes in their countries. This time positive news about significant progress in this sphere has come from Japan.
As it has been revealed, the government of a Japanese city that has been well-known as a center of scientific development since the 1960s, Tsukuba, successfully tested a blockchain-based voting system.
According to the local media, Tsukuba has managed to become the first city in the country to start applying a voting technology of this kind.
In the framework of the testing procedure, the government gathered 119 votes from residents on the issue of local development programs. The cutting-edge technology was applied to opt for the most comprehensive and applicable social contribution project from a whole range of proposals aimed at implementation of modern technologies including the internet of things and artificial intelligence.
The newly introduced system combines the opportunities of an identity verification machine with a decentralized network. When an ID card was put on the machine for verification, a voter needed to select a program that he or she considered to be the most appropriate.
When the selection was made, the data was encrypted and stored by the system via the tamper-proof distributed network.
Commenting the tested system, Tsukuba Mayor Tatsuo Igarashi said:
“I had thought it would involve more complicated procedures, but I found that it’s minimal and easy.”
Nevertheless, during the testing procedure some problems were revealed. For example, some participants had some difficulties in entering their passwords for voting as they didn’t remember their combinations.
Moreover, it was practically impossible to see whether a vote was counted or not. Due to these factors, elections boards and organizations may be afraid to use these systems.
Experts believe that if post-testing improvements facilitate the entire procedure, the government will widen the application of the system. It is said that in such a case residents living in mountainous areas, remote islands and foreign countries may use this system for voting.
But as we have already mentioned, Japan is not the only country that is working on application blockchain technology to their voting campaigns. For example, in August it has become known that the Ukrainian Central Election Commission is studying the possibilities of NEM’s blockchain to use it for enhancing the procedure of local and national elections.
A little bit earlier, Switzerland announced its plans to conduct the first blockchain-based test vote and the authorities of the state of West Virginia took a decision to offer military staff serving abroad a possibility to participate in the midterm elections via a mobile voting app.