Experts this week warned against entertaining the idea that blockchain could fix the voting system despite growing frustration with the long lines and malfunctioning machines that caused problems during the midterm election. “If you’re trying to convince Walmart it needs blockchains to track avocados or whatever, be our guest,” Arvind Narayanan, an associate professor of computer science at Princeton, tweeted. “But if you’re messing with critical infrastructure, you’ve crossed a line.” Blockchain is technology that uses computers to build a shared, secure and decentralized digital ledger. Blockchain is best known as the basis for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin but in recent years has attracted interest from a variety of industries that see a benefit in using the ideas behind blockchain.
One of those areas is voting. In May, West Virginia introduced a new way for state residents living abroad to submit their ballots using Voatz, a mobile election platform that utilizes blockchain among other technologies. The state has used the technology in their primary elections, and almost 140 West Virginians voted in the midterms with the Voatz app.
… Matt Blaze, an associate professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, tweeted that blockchain advocates would need to answer a lot of questions before the technology would be ready to use in national elections.
“The charlatans pushing for blockchain elections and online voting are doing the equivalent of advocating a healthcare policy that assumes we’re about to cure cancer,” Blaze tweeted. “Maybe we will, but best not to bet on it.”