Thailand's National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec) announced the development of a blockchain-powered voting platform, according to a Bangkok Post article from January 3.
Chalee Vorakulpipat, head of the cybersecurity laboratory at Nectec, says the new e-voting technology was developed for use in "national, provincial, [and] community elections," and can also be applied to elect officers in a corporation. The main purpose of the new blockchain-based voting system is to "reduce fraud and maintain data integrity" by using blockchain technology to send election results "directly from the voters to the election controller."
Once launched, the new system will allow voters to cast their votes via email; their identity will be verified by taking a picture with a mobile camera. Citizens of Thailand living abroad will have to visit a Thai embassy or consulate to vote and have their identities verified. Despite this limitation, Nectec believes the platform has the potential to speed up the election process by eliminating the need for election results to be collected from polling places and delivered to a central location.
With the development of the new system complete, Nectec is now looking for partners to participate in pilot programs. Before Nectec applies the technology to a large political election, it wants to test the system on a "smaller scale" (e.g., university elections).
Nationwide internet access is another hurdle to overcome before the system can be used on a larger scale. According to Nectec, 5G mobile networks must be implemented nationwide before the new platform can be adopted en masse. All participants must also have access to an affordable internet connection and identity verification tools.
Thailand is not alone in the quest to use blockchain technology to secure election data and verify voter identity. In December 2017, the government of Moscow announced a pilot project to start integrating blockchain technology into its "Active Citizen voting system." In May of this year, deployed military members and other West Virginians eligible to vote absentee took part in the first "government-run, blockchain-mediated" election in US history.