The county of Finnmark in Norway has served as a perfect showcase of how to run a legitimate and secure online referendum.
In a recent democratic exercise, wherein they needed to decide on whether or not to merge with the neighboring county of Thoms, the citizens of the Norwegian county were able to vote online using one of the latest innovations in database and network tech: blockchain.
While blockchain technology is used mostly for cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin, Smartmatic-Cybernetica, the tech provider for the referendum, knew that it could also be used to make more secure and credible election systems.
“Blockchain allows people to ‘transact’ online with full trust, confidence and security because the technology relies on a network of computers continuously synchronizing information with each other,” said a Smartmatic representative.
Smartmatic’s TIVI system, the actual solution used for the referendum, allowed users to either vote from their home computers or through traditional paper-based polling stations. Due to the obvious convenience, 95 percent of the voters, mostly below age 60, chose to vote online.
The TIVI system gives voters the opportunity to cast as many ballots as they want with only the final one being counted, an innovative feature that greatly reduces the impact of voter coercion.
To facilitate participation and keep voters informed, TIVI was fully integrated with ID-Porten, a common single sign-on service used to access Norwegian public e-services. Automatic SMS based electronic poll cards were sent to remind voters to vote and to inform them when their online vote was received. The system also used an allowed private blockchain as a mechanism to protect and prove ballot box integrity.
According to Smartmatic, this is not the first time that blockchain technology was used in online elections. In March 2016, Smartmatic-Cybernetica also used blockchain to implement their voting solution for the Utah Republican party to conduct its Presidential Preference Caucus.
For more information on TIVI and other online voting solutions, you may visit http://www.smartmatic.com for more information.