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Blockchain Tech Enables Utah Republicans to Vote for Candidate

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:47 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:47 PM

Registered members of the Republican party in Utah will be able to nominate a candidate for the United States Presidency by placing a vote without having to visit polling stations by submitting them via the internet at the party’s website. The votes will be submitted and secured on a blockchain.

For the first time ever in the United States, a state party has enabled voting via the internet. Members of the Utah Republican party will be able to cast their ballot to vote today for this year’s Republican presidential nominee by registering online at the party’s website.

The online voting infrastructure is secured and powered by Smartmatic, a British firm with experience in online voting solutions around the world.

Smartmatic will use a private blockchain along with end-to-end encryption, enabling registered Republicans in Utah to cast their vote online.

Once registered, users will each obtain a unique cryptographic key that they will need to enter online while casting a vote. Voters will also be able to learn about the candidates and change their ballot before submitting their vote. Once submitted however, the recorded vote is permanent and cannot be changed.

Mike Summers, program manager at Smartmatic and a key developer of its blockchain-based voting technology contends online voting is here to stay for the convenience that it offers and party members young and old are signing up in numbers. Indeed, a Wired  report contends that 59,000 Utah Republicans have already registered online for casting their vote onto the blockchain.

Speaking to VOA News, Summers stated:

Who thinks the notion of requiring people to go to a particular location at a particular time on a particular day and use a pencil and a piece of paper which is then counted by hand is a good idea? It just seems at odds with how we lead our lives today.

Furthermore, Summers adds that the online voting system is secured against vote tampering, due to the implementation of the firm’s cryptographically secure blockchain.

It’s secure, private and no vote can be changed or deleted, and no bogus votes can be introduced into the ballot box.

Online voting also brings significant advantages over offline votes submitted toward a physical ballot, even more-so in a state like Utah. A significant majority of the state’s residents are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons. Mormons often spend several years abroad for missionary work and up till now, had to depend on postal voting which are fundamentally unreliable.

Also read: Developer Readies Bitcoin-Based Voting Machine For 2016 Election

Missionaries, travelers, U.S. military service personnel and citizens abroad the country have had to rely on ballots sent over the mail. With online voting solutions that see votes registered and secured on a blockchain, the democratic voting process just got simpler.

Registered Republican party members in Utah will have the ability to cast their vote online from 7 AM to 11 PM MDT today at the party’s website.