Internet Voting With Blockchain

Voting Mobile

Kaya Yurieff, an associate writer focused on consumer technology for CNN Tech, interviewed me in February about Internet voting. Following are the first few paragraphs of her story which appeared online this week.

You can do a lot on a smartphone, from depositing a check to ordering groceries. But here’s one thing you can’t do: vote for elected officials. Some advocates see the potential of a more modernized system amid concerns about US election security and aging voting machines.

A major reason people don’t vote is because they can’t get to the polls, according to John Patrick, author of Election Attitude: How Internet Voting Leads to a Stronger Democracy.”This old system does not accommodate the busy people we are today and the people who are sick, in nursing homes, [or] in the military,” he said. “There are a hundred reasons why people can’t vote.”

But to keep smartphone voting safe, experts are looking toward blockchain technology, a super secure and transparent public ledger with the history of transaction data from anyone who uses a certain service. Although blockchain is most associated with powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it can be applied to other areas, such as health care or voting.

Read the entire article on CNNMoney here.

Kaya did a good job in getting multiple viewpoints on the subject. Unfortunately, the anti-Internet voting activists always get top billing, as though they are the gods of knowledge on whether Internet voting is possible. They compare Internet voting (with or without blockchain) to a perfect system we will never have. They refuse to compare it to the old-fashioned broken system we have. Rather than help specify what is needed to make Internet voting be secure and verifiable, they revert and recommend a paper based system as the only good solution.

Startup companies such as Votem have good voting technology. Competition among them will make Internet voting better. We need more advocates to ask election officials and political leaders whether they think it is important that 100 million could have voted but did not. Instead, we have anti-Internet voting activists criticizing West Virginia and others for being innovative and trying to strengthen our democracy by making it easier to vote. Internet voting is not ready for national elections in 2018 but it could be ready in 2020 if we can muster the political and technological will to make it happen. Lets not forget the 100 million people. We can do better.

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