Sierra Leone is a relatively unknown territory when it comes to blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies, but it recently made its name known in the sector by holding its presidential elections while having them powered via blockchain voting. That’s right, the Sierra Leone Presidential Election was powered by the blockchain!
This was a significantly bold move for a country that has suffered from the Ebola epidemic, a natural disaster, and a civil war that lasted for more than a decade – all leaving lasting effects on the territory by changing its financial standing and political climate.
The blockchain voting process aimed to ease some of those effects, by providing solutions that could ensure transparency in the presidential election which is considered by many to be a turning point for the country.
The process, which aimed to prevent voter fraud in Sierra Leone, was powered by Agora, a blockchain voting solutions provider. The company used a permissioned blockchain to ensure that recorded data remained protected while also being transparent to the stakeholders, all of whom were given permitted access to the blockchain in order to tally the votes.
During the process, initial votes that are recorded on ballot papers are to be counted by neutral observers. The procedure, being watched by Agora, is the key step to entering that data on to the blockchain.
The usage of blockchain in the presidential election and its voting process is crucial to how the nation will be shaped in the next few years, as Sierra Leone, while being rich in natural resources such as gold and diamonds, still falters when it comes to translating those resources in the country’s fiscal statistics, and remains one of the most underprivileged territories in the whole world.
By executing these operations in Sierra Leone, Agora aims to provide an efficient use case for its blockchain voting platform and hopes that if this attempt is successful, being the first of its kind at such a large scale, then the technology could garner the attention of other nations from all over the world.
Update on blockchain voting results
It was recently reported through projected results that none of the candidates seem likely to receive the 55 percent vote that would declare an outright win.
This update was shared by the National Election Watch (NEW), which stated that the results, while unofficial, outline what could ultimately be the final results.
This could also mean that the country could see a runoff to the presidential elections, where voters might be required to register their vote a second time to elect a single vote. In this process, usually all but two candidates that have received the most votes remain, and one winner is chosen amongst them.
That being said, the official tally of votes and the final result can only be shared by the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (NEC), which has asked the citizens to remain patient as the voting count could take several days, mentioning that “accuracy will take precedence over speed”.
The NEC further added that out of 17,745 boxes of ballot papers, 37 turned out to pose issues that were addressed in a timely manner. The organization concluded that it would be equivalent to only a 0.2 percent of all ballot paper boxes.
We are seeing that there is progress and growth in governance and the progression of improved democracy as countries across the world utilize the immutability of the blockchain to improve their voting processes, countries like Russia, Brazil have already implemented it, the Sierra Leone Presidential Election is just the latest implementation, more t come.