The Grand Old Party provided yesterday a surprising peek into how the future of voting will look like. Despite the controversy surrounding the Republican Primaries, this time the GOP deserves attention for all the right reasons. The GOP became the first party in US history to use a blockchain based electronic voting system, for the Utah primaries. The system was developed by Smartmatic, a British company – the fact that they outsourced this service, could well serve as fodder for controversy later on – that is at the forefront of blockchain voting systems world-wide.
Although it may be hard to believe that the Republican Party made history by using cutting edge voting technology developed by a British firm in Utah, it is exactly what happened. For all the criticism Republicans have been getting lately, their little blockchain trick up their sleeve completely blew the democrats out of the water. No one would expect a Grand Old Party to adopt such a brand new idea faster than its competitors, and although Republicans might not be able to derive any political capital from their blockchain investment, they became the benchmarking standard for any future election in the US.
The Benefits of Blockchain Primaries in Utah
The Republican Party primaries in Utah saw a bigger turn out than expected. This may also be attributable to the blockchain voting system, for which 40,000 out of the 59,000 registered Republican voters, signed up – according to reports. That is one of the most important features of blockchain based voting. It serves to mobilize the people who are easily deterred from voting for reasons such as the weather. This has the potential to radically change the outcomes of future elections, when – at this point it is hard to see how it would be an “if” question – the electoral system goes on blockchain completely.
The other great benefit of blockchain voting, highlighted by the Utah primaries, is that people can cast their votes from any place in the world. The only thing they need is an internet connection. This makes overseas voting as cheap as regular voting is, while making the whole ballot casting process cheaper than the one we use right now.
Blockchain-based voting is also more reliable. It provides the feedback necessary to each voter so that they can verify that their vote went to the candidate they chose. This will make oversight much clearer, and registered Republican voters could already see that in Utah. Every person who cast a vote online got a receipt that enabled them to check that their vote was properly allocated to the candidate they chose.
Politics aside, Republicans in Utah made a move that can only draw praise from everyone, regardless of their political views. They carried out an orderly, online voting campaign that succeeded in showing the benefits of blockchain-based voting. It was an appropriate move that also showed the world that some of the stigmas associated with the Republican Party and its voters are not justified. Now it is the Democrat’s turn to step up to the plate, and play catch-up to Trump, Cruz and all the GOP establishment, lest they want to be perceived as the technologically challenged party in the race.