The financial ramifications of the blockchain can overshadow its political possibilities. Which is why it’s clear pundits haven’t deeply considered America’s labyrinthine mess of local, state, and federal electoral shortcomings in bandying about the dictum that blockchain is a “solution without a problem.” Two current episodes in Arizona and Maryland highlight how American politics could use the blockchain more than ever.
Less Than Ideal Situations in Arizona, Maryland
Two of the keystone benefits of blockchain technology? Immutability and transparency — two elements that are sorely needed in the American political arena today.
In Maryland, cybersecurity experts have warned that Maryland’s laissez-faire ballot access laws have created an easy hunting ground for hackers to manipulate votes counts. Phishers could commandeer citizens’ online ballots with a simple authoritative-looking email. Severe electoral mutability is possible accordingly.
In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey just lent — or as some would say, rented out — his signature to a bill that will defend anonymous political contributions in the state. The move comes at a time when 90 percent of voters in Tempe, Arizona, just voted to mandate all local political contributions over $1,000 USD to have their sources publicly disclosed. Alas, dark money is seemingly winning its battle against transparency — not only in Arizona, but all across the nation as well.
Such political mutability and non-transparency could be eviscerated by blockchain tech if legislators would give the “solution without a problem” a chance.
Blockchain Could Be the Future of Politics
If large political donations were mandated to be made via blockchain, then who gave what contributions to which politicians would be publicly available information. Seems like a no-brainer move in a society that claims to be a free and open democracy.
For example, a young state representative candidate in Florida just set up an Ethereum smart contract for campaign contributions in a way that’s compliant with campaign finance laws.
As for immutability, it’s also a given that no one should be able to tamper with, or hack, vote counts — an increasingly large concern in an increasingly digital world.
Swiss elections play Agora recently showed that tabulating manual votes on the blockchain is already possible in the here and now. And soon enough, there may not have to be manual voting at all as the underlying tech and digital voting processes mature.
So, when it comes to elections, it’s not that blockchain solves a non-existent problem. It seems more apt to say that the powers-that-be don’t want to admit that the “electoral problem” exists at all. The good ol’ status quo, right.
What’s your take? Do you think blockchain voting is a good or bad idea? Sound off in the comments below.
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