South Korea Preparing Blockchain Trial For More Secure Online Voting

South Korea blockchain trial e-voting system distributed ledger

South Korea is gearing up to test a blockchain system for e-voting, with a view to improving the security and reliability of online voting.

The Korean National Election Commission, which administers national elections in the country, says it will be rolling out trials as early as December, with support from experts at the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Korea already uses electronic voting, with a system known as K-voting, which has already handled over 5.6 million votes. However, concerns have been raised about vulnerabilities in the system that could leave it open to hacking and potential fraud.

The proposed blockchain system would allow for votes to be automatically recorded on a distributed ledger, with the immutability of the blockchain effectively removing these concerns.

The system is also expected to be more reliable than the current K-voting model, with the NEC describing results from the platform as more “credible” than the alternatives.

Election observers and candidates would also be able to directly access election data, while making the results “impossible to manipulate,” according to statements from the election commission.

If the trial proves successful, it is expected that the technology will be integrated within the K-voting system to deliver these and other benefits over the current technology.

The December trial will see the blockchain platform running surveys on behalf of the Blockchain Society at Seoul National University and for the Korea Internet & Security Agency.

It comes amid a wider exploration of emerging technologies from the NEC, which is also researching internet of things and big data technology to establish how these could be used to improve the effectiveness and delivery of elections nationwide.

Elections and voting on the blockchain is an established use case, already deployed in corporate voting, with several jurisdictions researching or implementing similar systems for local and national elections.

Most recently, local lawmakers in Tsukuba, Japan, tested a system to allow residents to vote on local development priorities, while the U.S. state of West Virginia has launched an app to allow military personnel to cast votes in national elections when stationed overseas.

The South Korean trial will commence in December and ultimately be expanded in its application if the trial proves a success.