India Exploring Blockchain-Powered Remote Voting System

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Sushil Chandra (Courtesy: Indian Express)
Sushil Chandra (Courtesy: Indian Express)

In India, the growth of Bitcoin is on a surge ever since the RBI has uplifted its ban on cryptocurrency. Moreover, the country in the top five countries the world where cryptocurrency is growing at a higher rate.

Now, India is looking at various aspects to bring in remote voting that will be powered by blockchain. The discussion came to the fore during a webinar on technology aspects organised by The Election Commission of India (EC).

The discussion took place after Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra brought up the issue of voter privacy and expressed his concerns over geographical issues in voting. He has said that an alternative voting should be in use which is better, transparent, live, auditable, and develop a perception of being very clear in the minds of the voters.

“Remote voting project aspires for enablement of voters residing in remote locations, away from their designated polling stations, to cast ballot in a secured fashion,” Chandra said.

Vijay Raghavan, another key advisor, was also positive about bringing the blockchain technology to the fore.

“There may be pitfalls but it’s possible to address those pitfalls,” he said.

According to a report in the Indian Express, other EC officials spoke of a strong demand for remote voting mechanisms.

“Today our process is tied up to a geographical location. I am sure we can work out this (blockchain) technology. The big issue is to find a secure, safe, trustworthy system. This is a huge task but a pious task. This will facilitate easy participation for those categories of voters who are not able to come to the polling station,” EC Secretary General Umesh Sinha said.

Deputy Election Commissioner Ashish Kundra said, “The desirability of moving ahead… is something we should inspire for. The question is: what is the right technology model which will inspire trust amongst stakeholders?”

Meanwhile, Sandra Ro, CEO of Global Blockchain Business Council, said, “India is primed to lead globally on how we transition to next generation voting systems.” She drew on pilot examples from the 2018 US mid-term elections, stating that there needs to be a bridge between security concerns and technological innovation.