Smartmatic, a Valenzuela-based company that specializes in technology solutions, is considering applying blockchain technology to the country’s elections that will allow people to cast online votes while making the technology secured and resistant to tampering.

Smartmatic Philippines President Jane Coo considered the idea after Smartmatic’s successful launch of TIVI blockchain technology, a secure, verifiable online voting solution for governmental elections in Finnmark, Norway.

“We’re still studying if this (blockchain technology) would be applicable here in the Philippines. Our system is extremely secure and transparent. Blockchain will make it even more secure and transparent,” said Coo in Philstar report.

In 2016, Smartmatic and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) were embroiled in an allegation for changing the script in the servers in the middle of results transmissions during the 2016 polls and a complaint was filed against the two for alleged violation of the anti-cybercrime law.  

While this initiative of Smartmatic can be considered the answer to the perpetual corruption that plagues the electoral scene, Smartmatic involvement in 2016 controversy and the recent extension of its contract to supply vote counting machines (VCMs) for the midterm elections in May 2019 without the required public bidding may become a roadblock to this endeavor.

In fact, members of the House minority bloc threatened to reject Comelec budget proposal for 2019 if Comelec insisted on using the services of Smartmatic for the midterm elections next year during a media forum in June 2018.

This public resistance against Smartmatic may be the first, but it certainly would not be the last; however, if done right, this technology, regardless of who develops it, may just very well be able to resolve the credibility issues in the Philippine election, and the fact that it could solve the problem of inefficiency is just a bonus.

To quote BUHAY party-list Representative Lito Atienza,

“Electoral reforms are necessary if we are to strengthen democracy.”

Photo credit: Election flickr photo by woman_pcosvote shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license.

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