The current election system of the United States of America may soon get a full-blown makeover courtesy Andrew Yang, a U.S. presidential candidate for 2020, who wants leverage blockchain technology to achieve that. His campaign website reads that Americans should be able to vote using their mobile devices with verification of course carried out via blockchain.
The American entrepreneur turn presidential candidate is a part of the Democratic Party. In addition to that, he is also a lawyer, a philanthropist and is quite the advocate of the budding blockchain technology.
Voting is a basic right of citizens living in a democratic state and part of that right is a fair and fraud-free election, where people can exercise their right to purposefully choose the future of the country they call home. Yang ardently believes that the entire process of the U.S. elections can be improved significantly, if the fundamentals of the blockchain technology are applied to it. Which will result in a fraud-free, more convenient voting experience for everyone.
He feels it unnecessary and foolish to wait in lines to cast votes a polling station and not consider the advancement of technology in this area and benefit from it. According to him:
It’s ridiculous that in 2020 we are still standing in line for hours to vote in antiquated voting booths. It is 100% technically possible to have fraud-proof voting on our mobile phones today using the blockchain. This would revolutionize true democracy and increase participation to include all Americans – those without smartphones could use the legacy system and lines would be very short.
Yang is of the opinion that making voting less complicated and hassled would dramatically increase participation in all elections, whether local, state or federal.
As of now, according to the website, the voter turnout even in presidential elections is barely over 50% and it drops further down during local and state elections. He blames the hard and time-consuming voting system for such a poor turnout.
Yang isn’t unaware of the general notion that surrounds the idea of online voting via blockchain, which is clouded with skepticism over security issues. However he argues that the machines being used by most locales under the current system are as vulnerable to tampering and hacking as the modern technologies.
And he isn’t entirely wrong either; the voting system is broken and not secure, case in point: the election of 2016. According to reports, the Department of Homeland Security claimed that Russian hackers allegedly targeted voting systems in 21 states.
More recently, last year only security experts reportedly discovered Russian phishing campaigns that targeted 3 candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. The vulnerabilities of the current system could diminish the trust that people have in the country’s voting system, unless a solution is found.
If we look at the fundamental characters of blockchain technology, such as transparency, immutability and accountability, it could be the saving grace of the voting system. The technology can help throughout the span of elections, from pre-election to post-election. During the pre-election phase it will help ensure that the digital content that is being distributed amongst the people is from a trusted source.
During election, blockchain’s immutable ledger can be used to store identity data for authenticating all the voters. It will further help in securely recording digital votes for the final tabulation. And lastly during post-election blockchain will give individual voters and election officials the opportunity to audit election’s outcome on a public blockchain.
In essence, blockchain could help practice democracy in its true sense, where the general public isn’t kept in dark and is given the right to audit after elections, it is after all their call. Yang is promising people their say in democracy through modern tech and the people are all in for that.
A new political action committee (PAC), supporting presidential candidate Andrew Yang was even allowing donations in Bitcoin (BTC) via Lightning Network. The PAC, dubbed Humanity Forward Fund (Humanity FWD) was launched by supporters of Yang and initiated its fundraising program that was powered by bitcoin for bitcoin donations.
Yang could be a breath of fresh air for the U.S. crypto community. And could help boost blockchain and crypto development in the country, However, only time will tell if it’ll be followed through.