Sierra Leone’s 2018 presidential elections, which took place on March 7th, represents the first time in history that blockchain technology has been used in a national government election.
In collab-oration with the National Electoral Commission, West Districts results were registered on Agora’s unforgeable blockchain ledger, and the tally made publicly available days before the usual manual count.
Governments around the world have for years sought a secure and transparent digital voting system to enhance their democracy’s electoral process. While some countries have adopted “black box” e-voting machines, none of these systems have provided a secure and transpar-ent platform for recording votes. Blockchain, however, offers the security and transparency requirements that were missing in previous systems, and Africa is leading the way in adopting this next generation technology into its elections, as was seen in yesterday’s presidential elections.
Swiss-based Agora, in collaboration with the National Electoral Commission, recorded Sierra Leone West Districts results on its custom-built blockchain, ensuring that election data was third-party verifiable and protected against any possibility of tampering. Election results are publicly available on Agora’s website, which has allowed citizens to monitor their election within only a few hours of polls closing.
The National Electoral Commission’s decision to work with Agora was also driven by speed, as logistics around transferring and counting ballots have proven cumbersome, expensive and slow in previous elections. Agora was able to provide election results days ahead of the National Electoral Commission’s manual tally processes.
This election highlights blockchain’s potential to ensure a permanent, transparent and secure record of votes. Sierra Leone is the first government to use blockchain in part of its election process, which its officials anticipate will bring attention to the measures they’re taking to improve transparency and security in their elections, as well as fight corruption.