India is working on a blockchain-based voting system: Report

India’s electoral commission is working on a blockchain-based voting system, the head of the commission has revealed. In a recent event, he cited the need for secure and transparent online voting systems as the reason for adopting blockchain technology.

India is the world’s largest democracy, with its election being the second-most expensive in the world after the United States. Over 900 million people are registered voters in the Asian country. However, during the last election which took place last year, close to 300 million didn’t cast their ballots. According to The Times of India, a major reason for this was the lack of access to polling stations, with many unable to travel to the stations where they registered to vote.

The solution lies in blockchain technology, Sunil Arora, the chief election commissioner believes. In the recently-held Times Now Summit, he revealed that the commission was working with the Indian Institute of Technology, Chenna on a blockchain-powered online voting system. This system will allow hundreds of millions of Indian voters to exercise their democratic right even if they migrate to other parts of the country.

Arora told the attendants that he was hopeful the system would come into effect before his tenure ends. His tenure is set to end in April 2021. He further revealed that there are plans to link voter IDs with the Aadhaar, a unique identity code that residents of India hold.

Electronic voting machines have for a long time been set back by fears of manipulation, Arora remarked. However, with blockchain technology, the distributed ledger is immutable, allowing citizens the peace of mind in knowing that the votes cast are genuinely tallied. The enhanced transparency also makes blockchain use in the electoral process a natural fit.

Blockchain voting is still in its testing stages, with the U.S. leading the pack in adoption. Voatz, a blockchain-powered mobile voting application has already been in use in federal elections. The company, which is backed by Overstock’s Medici Ventures, was however attacked by security researchers who claimed it wasn’t secure and hackers could manipulate the voting process.

Voatz has since responded, claiming that the researchers used a version that was 27 versions old. The company also claimed that the outdated app wasn’t connected to its servers and thus, the researchers “fabricated an imagined version of the Voatz servers, hypothesized how they worked, and then made assumptions about the interactions between the system components that are simply false.”

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