Electronic voting solutions supplier Smartmatic is eyeing to use blockchain in future elections in the Philippines, according to a report by local newspaper the Philippine Star. The move is an apparent attempt by the supplier of vote-counting machines (VCMs) to rectify itself after sparking accusations over its role in the last national elections in the country.
The company drew heavy flak on suspicion some of its executives colluded with the former administration to favor a particular vice presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.
The results of the 2016 polls for the vice presidential post is under review by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
“We’re still studying if this (blockchain technology) would be applicable here in the Philippines… Blockchain will make [our system] even more secure and transparent,” Smartmatic Philippines Jane Coo told the Star.
Coo said utilizing blockchain technology in the country’s mid-term elections in May 2019 would make the polls more secure while at the same time allowing voters to cast their ballots online. Blockchain would bring full trust and confidence among voters as the distributed ledger technology relies on a network of nodes that are regularly synchronizing information making hacking and breach of security almost impossible, Coo added.
Smartmatic used its TIVI blockchain technology in the recent local plebiscite in Norway that saw a record 85% voter turnout with voters allowed to cast their votes online even as polling stations were set up for areas without internet access.
The Philippines poll body, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) renewed Smartmatic’s contract to supply VCMs for the next elections in May.
Blockchain in elections
Last June, Zug, Switzerland pilot-tested its first-ever blockchain-enabled election. The trial ran until the first week of July. Zug said going the route of blockchain-powered election system would eliminate any chances of cheating or tampering of votes.
“Who knows, in five or ten years’ time blockchain may be used for votes. Not everyone has faith in the blockchain or even e-voting, but I personally believe in its potential," said Zug Mayor Dolfi Mueller.
In March, Russia’s state-run public opinion research firm VTSIOM used blockchain to collect data from exit polls in the country’s recent presidential elections.