The Catalan government is making plans to use Blockchain technology to facilitate its online voting system in 2020. This is after a preliminary bill was approved in October for the establishment of an electronic voting system. The proposed system, will enable its citizens at home and abroad to cast their vote.
E-Voting System to be Targeted at Citizens Abroad
The data from the last election shows that only 12% of those residing outside the country voted. On the other hand, there was an 81.94% turn out at polling stations by residents of the country. For this reason, more consideration is given on developing a system that is primarily targeted at residents abroad.
Ismael Peña-López, director of Citizen Participation of the Government of Catalonia, also gave some highlights. He revealed that the government is trying to develop an electronic system that will enable citizens abroad to vote. The director attributed this to security reasons and the cost-benefit of using an online system.
In his opinion, if the system was unable to achieve its purpose, then only a small number of people will be affected. This is because the number of eligible voters living outside the country was few in comparison with residents in the country. He also said that while all votes were important, the risk was low when using an e-voting system applicable to only external voters.
Considerations of E-voting System For all Voters
In the same vein, Ismael outlined that if the system was a success in the election process, then this would be very profitable. It will also impact positively on the election process. Despite his concerns about the risks of the new system, the director believes it is better if the bill is modified to ensure that those within the country can vote as well.
This is because it will take away the need to do another paperwork if the government finally decides on using the system for all citizens. There is also the lengthy process of passing another bill again which could take up to a year. Therefore, the implementation of the e-voting system should be in stages.
The first stage of the project will support external votes and the second stage will be for early votes. At the same time, the last phase will support all voters. Now, before the tool is made a universal voting system, it is to be proven in a “non-binding referendum consultation”. As is usually the case with Blockchain, it is will instill trust and bring about transparency in the election.
Recently, West Virginia used an app which could store ballots on the Blockchain to conduct its state general election. This is a mobile application that enables citizens abroad to vote after a fingerprint and facial ID verification. Right from the app, they could check if their vote has been counted.