Thailand’s NECTEC Testing Blockchain-Based Voting Mechanism for Elections

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According to a report from Bangkok Post, published on January 3, 2019, Thailand is contemplating the use of blockchain technology for elections. The voting model would combine traditional voting mechanism and e-voting.

Need for Digital Literacy in Thailand

Thailand’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) states that after the adoption of 5G, all voters can be easily connected in close groups. However, the Thai populace would require ample digital literacy to translate this idea into reality successfully.

Chalee Vorakulpipat, head of the cybersecurity laboratory at NECTEC, shared his thoughts regarding the development. He stated:

“Nectec developed blockchain technology for e-voting that can be applied to national, provincial or community elections, as well as business votes such as the board of directors. The goal is to reduce fraud and maintain data integrity.”

Some of the qualities that make distributed ledger technology an ideal fit for election purposes include its immutability, transparency, and the ease of being audited. This is in stark contrast to a centralized database which can easily be manipulated by hackers.

Using Blockchains in Elections

Commenting on the utility of blockchain technology in elections, Chalee stated that the process would require an election controller, candidates, and voters.

Before the elections take place, election controllers can establish voter qualifications and ensure eligible voters are registered in the system. Similarly, prospective candidates can also enroll in the system, which will help the election controller to verify their eligibility quickly.

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Being the end user, voters are not required to know the technical intricacies of blockchain technology. They can simply vote for their candidate via email.

Once the voting is completed, candidates and election controllers can check the number of votes and compile results, respectively. As the voting data is sent directly to the election controller, results can be calculated quickly.

As one might observe, blockchains do away with the need to collect data from election points scattered all over the country. This largely mitigates the labor costs involved in managing and transferring data from remote locations to a central location.

However, Chalee noted that the implementation of the technology for Thailand’s general elections faces another ostensible barrier. E-voting would require every voter to have an affordable mobile internet connection and identity verification

Thai authorities have not been shy in using emerging technology for administrative purposes. BTCManager reported on December 4, 2018, how the Thai Revenue Department is testing blockchain technology to track VAT payments.

Similarly, on November 6, 2018, reports emerged that tax authorities in Thailand are mulling over the use of DLT to fight tax evasion.