Residents of a Japanese city in Ibakari prefecture had the opportunity to use a voting system based on blockchain technology as a security measure, on August 28th. Although this is one of the first projects of its kind across Japan, the report on this project does not describe the procedure for validating the information. The news was released by The Japan Times, which specified that the voting system was designed to select a proposal for social contribution projects in the city of Tsukuba.
The objective of this program was to provide a platform for transparent elections that cannot be altered
To this end, the city authorities, known for driving technological development in the region, partnered with a project known as My Number, a personal identification software. The report indicates that the vote was taken online.
In order to participate, residents had to use a card provided by the My Number platform, which consists of a 12-digit number that any resident or foreigner can use in Japan. Participants voted on a screen after placing their cards for verification. In total, 119 votes were recorded by this procedure, validated in a blockchain system that according to the authorities prevents the data from being falsified or leaked.
Tohoku University professor, Kazynori Kawamura, who is familiar with digital election research, commented that the reputation of these systems needs to improve. “Due to fear of mistakes, administrative organizations and election boards will probably find it difficult to introduce these systems,” said Kawamura.
Voting systems based on blockchain have been successfully tested in other countries, as well
On August 7th, a vote on the Senate election was held in West Virginia, in the United States, which allowed the military in service to vote through a mobile application that used a blockchain system to protect the data. However, several voices criticized the project, arguing that the transparency and immutability of the information depended on a company that used private nodes to validate the information.
Several projects on elections supported by blockchain technology have been developed around the world. While the desire for technology that allows for greater transparency and security of information is legitimate, it is necessary to discern when it is appropriate to use these systems and when a simple database is sufficient.