Using the technology for voting in elections could promise absolute power in the hands of people.
Geopolitics is witnessing a paradigm shift. Political upheaval is not limited to the West. Hopelessness, sadness, the waning viability of old ways: these are the subjects of politics across the world.
This is the reason dynamic dictatorship or populist regimes are getting accepted: diversion by war (Russia, Turkey); ethno-religious “cleansing” (Hungary, Myanmar); the amplification of presidential forces and the related deserting of social liberties and the control of law (China, Rwanda, Venezuela, Thailand, the Philippines) and some more.
Indeed, there is an understanding that homogenous populism is emitting in numerous nations around the globe. Many have noticed the similarities between contemporary leaders like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey.
There is a feeling that something is noticeable all around — that something is similar between farthest of the places. In any case, this does not draw any closer. For there is no unanticipated event. All nations today are designed with a similar framework, which subjects them with similar issues and pressures.
After so many years of opening the economy to the world, finance and data systems have effectively grown beyond the control of national governments. The circulation of planet’s richness and assets to a great extent remain uncontested by any political system.
In India, it isn’t that our “netas” are corrupt, it’s just that the politicians are tainted as a result of the “system”. We don’t need to look far to observe how our legislators start of and how then the system changes them completely when they get to the end of it.
It will be difficult to beat these breaking points if we continue with the culture of our redundant politics where participation is decided by a binary vote at the end of 4–5 years. Polarisation, lack of concern, and lack of influence are results of a democracy where power is limited to a vote in EVM machine/ballot.
Improving trust in times of democratic recession: Blockchain Politics
There’s a motivation behind why we need to go to a polling place to cast our vote. Anonymous voting is the most effortless approach to secure the trustworthiness of the vote while ensuring voter privacy. This trust of this voting has been attacked in recent times due to machines, ballot getting rigged and EVMs getting hacked.
Voting digitally has been a troublesome test since it’s hard to validate that each ballot is verified and true while also keeping them anonymous. Blockchain voting could change that with its cryptography.
Blockchain voting as of now is changing the electoral process. At the present time, those in the military from West Virginia, USA who are serving abroad can vote in their home elections by utilizing their cell phones for voting. A blend of encryption and blockchain registry counts and verify these votes.
Different nations like Brazil, Denmark, South Korea, and Switzerland are researching blockchain voting as well. But, in this regard, Estonia is leading all the nations. Estonia’s citizens have unique ID cards that enable them to vote on the blockchain rapidly and safely.
Through blockchain, people can control decisions substantially more rapidly and public referendum is an attainable alternative.
Blockchain politics working in layman terms
In layman terms, people can delegate their vote on the issue to anybody they want, for instance, an expert in that specific field. This expert has the same number of votes as were designated to him or her, and can either vote on laws to himself or delegate them further to another trusted person.
The way to keep delegates is that anytime a citizen can withdraw their vote from the delegate back for themselves. For instance, if an expert changes his opinion on a matter to which people disagree with or gets influenced by cash, enterprises or lobbyists, the actual voters can take their votes back.
This makes delegates more responsible for their activities than representative in the current framework. Moreover, voters can give their votes on various issues to different individuals which they see the best fit. For instance, you can delegate your vote on environmental change issues to your most loved ecological researcher/leader, regardless of whether you don’t believe him or her sanctioning financial policy.
You would then be able to delegate your financial policy vote to your girlfriend who is a banker, who may further delegate her vote to a trusted economist. In the meantime, you can keep your vote on social issues to yourself if you have strong opinions and need to be accountable and responsible for your vote.
Now, let’s look at the 10 simple reasons through which blockchain can disrupt the current political system in future for a better democratic system.
Voting should be transparent
One of the greatest advantages of blockchain voting is that it increases transparency. Currently, when you vote, you don’t generally comprehend what has happened to our vote. You’re unsure that your vote is counted and completely trust election commission to count it correctly.
But on the blockchain, it could be achievable to track your vote and see that it lands up at the correct place. Despite the fact that it wouldn’t have your data attached to it, your vote would exist on the blockchain history.
No election rigging and fraud
One of the advantages of increased transparency is a decrease in electoral fraud. It becomes tough to cheat the framework or vote in the wrong ward with blockchain id verification system in place. Also, in those nations where autocrats hack elections; blockchain can be a liberator towards a truly democratic system.
Starting a blockchain voting framework requires purchase from the present government obviously. However, after some time blockchain could turn into a global voting standard, with the majority of the nations upholding for blockchain governance in all countries.
Real time voting and referendums
We can verify and count votes in real time using blockchain thereby making voting transparent and in a considerably shorter time span. Moreover, when elections are digital, it takes less investment for polling infrastructure and resource management to hold them.
Decisions can be taken more quickly when referendums are conducted more often in 5 years. Suppose you could vote on your smartphone on the municipality issue today or whether to hike taxes to pay for another open gym in your locality. Interesting, wouldn’t it be?
Autonomous organisations and corporate governance
Apart from governments as major beneficiaries of blockchain voting, organisations, councils, unions can vote for employees, leadership and stakeholders for better democratic organisation structure.
Increased voter engagement
Another standpoint of blockchain voting could be increased engagement. If blockchain e-voting is possible from smartphones or desktops, the voting process will become as simple as signing in and casting your vote in a couple of minutes. This would likely to increase voter turnout drastically thereby leading to the strengthening of democracy.
Making political economy robust
No high marketing campaigns or muscle power will be required to influence voters. Delegate’s knowledge and domain expertise will be prime factors in winning votes.
Accountability: Bottom to top approach
A single individual can be associated at all decision-making levels, from basic leadership to any elective inquiry.
No time, money wastage by opposition and power holders
Majority will hold power than a legislator or a parliamentarian in a liquid democracy. Since delegates chosen will have power based on majority votes, there will be no requirement for a violent opposition by people/groups to gain control of power.
Internal democracy in political parties
No political party will be needed for a delegate to stand for elections. Even, if there will be, the entire control over results of decisions of the party will be controlled by workers or volunteers.
Knowledge and skill over muscle/money power
Domain experts and educated grassroots leaders will be leaders in this democratic system than uneducated politicians or “netas” who prefer muscle/money over people. Bottom to top approach will allow people to make more knowledgeable decisions.
Blockchain politics can’t be called utopian system as it’s under validation across the globe and countries have started adopting the model. It may have its own challenges but still, it presents a better framework which snatches the power from individuals and distributes it to the people.
While it may take a decade or 15 years time to arrive in India because of lack of basic digital infrastructure and conflict with power, it still offers a hope to citizens across the world to improve their democracies through technology. Absolute power, in the hands of the people.
This article was first published at DailyO