Kenyan electoral commission aspirant, Justus Abonyo has said the country should consider adopting blockchain-based voting, this he said will encourage transparency and save cost.
The former chair of Kenya’s Social Democratic Party and current candidate for commissioner of the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Justus Abonyo, has urged for blockchain voting to be adopted.
Abonyo made the appeal while appearing before the selection committee overseeing the appointment of IEBC commissioners on Thursday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, according to a report by Kenyan news outlet The Star.
Abonyo expressed his support for blockchain voting adoption, claiming that it would save up to 300% in costs.
“The cost of a ballot in Kenya ranges between US$ 7-US$ 25 (Sh700-Sh2,500). If we use blockchain technology, this cost will go down to US$0.5 (Sh50). This is an area I would explore as a commissioner.”
The IEBC commissioner candidate also said that implementing blockchain voting would assist Kenya’s elections to become more transparent and secure. Abonyo’s appeal for adoption coincides with the country’s preparations for a general election in 2022.
The IEBC’s electronic voting system was allegedly hacked during Kenya’s previous presidential elections in 2017. The assassination of the IEBC’s IT manager just days before the polls added validity to these suspicions.
The judgment is still out on the effectiveness of blockchain voting, with MIT cybersecurity researchers warning in November 2020 that voting systems based on the new technology posed “serious threats” to democracy.
Some recent blockchain-based voting protocol implementations have been scrutinized for their performance. According to reports released in July 2020, the voting mechanism used in Russia’s constitutional amendment vote in 2020 permitted constituents and even third-party organisations to understand the votes cast.
Meanwhile, Abonyo isn’t the first person to suggest blockchain as a solution to the country’s security and transparency problems, as David Robinson of the UNODC’s, advised the Kenyan authorities to use blockchain in combating corruption.