Switzerland’s Getting Into Blockchain Voting

The town of Zug will start a trial run of a blockchain election system, allowing citizens to vote on a couple of soft issues.

Blockchain elections are an oft-mentioned subject in several local governments, and even some national governments. But so far, governments that have taken serious steps to try and implement it—such as Sierra Leone—haven’t been able to make much progress.

This may be about to change as the town of Zug in Switzerland launches the trial run of its blockchain-based election system. It has been running since Monday and will continue doing so until the first of next month.

Since the stakes behind political elections are often very high and people have been known to cheat, the town decided to take an easier route that’s less susceptible to tampering: People will get to vote on whether they’d like fireworks at the annual festival.

“Who knows, in five or ten years’ time blockchain may be used for votes. Not everyone has faith in blockchain, or even e-voting, but I personally believe in its potential,” said mayor Dolfi Müller.

He strongly believes that blockchain-based elections could hold their own against other electronic voting systems, especially since a properly set-up system would theoretically reduce the probability of tampering significantly.

Since the system is trustless and as decentralized as it gets as far as governments are concerned, it’d be much more resilient against cyber attacks and double voting. Bitcoin’s system has already proven how this model could work with currencies.

The only problem with the trial run right now would be the small potential sample size of participants. Currently, Zug’s eID system, which makes a person eligible to participate, has only 240 registered users.

If someone wants to vote in this trial, they will have to set up an eID. Considering what they’re being asked to vote on, many people might not consider such a process worth it in the end. The prime concern for  Zug now is to persuade its citizens to get involved, a task that could be difficult considering how conservative the population of Switzerland in general is.

“As in all societies, there are open-minded people and more conservative citizens. We hope to persuade more people to be open-minded,” Müller added.