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By Landon Manning
Thailand's National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), a statutory government organization, has recently developed blockchain technology to use during elections.
According to a recent report in the Bangkok Post, NECTEC has decided to deploy this technology as a “hybrid model that combines e-voting in close groups and traditional voting, as Thais still need time to build up digital literacy.”
Chalee Vorakulpipat, the head of the cybersecurity laboratory at NECTEC, claimed that it “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,” and that its goal is “to reduce fraud and maintain data integrity.”
The Post claimed that the system functions as a sort of controller, which is able to “identify voter qualifications, while candidates can register in the system, through which the election controller can check their eligibility.” This is advantageous because a “blockchain eliminates the need to collect data from election points and deliver to a central location, saving huge labour costs and preventing fraud as data is transmitted directly from the voters to the election controller.”
This is not the first attempt in Thai politics to implement a blockchain-based electoral method, although it is the first to be implemented by government organizations. Last November, one of the opposition parties in Thailand announced its use of blockchain technology in its own party primaries, although the election result was hardly an unexpected one. A former Thai prime minister became the party’s candidate for general elections, and it demonstrated a valuable proof of concept.
Although there are aforementioned concerns about the ability for all Thai citizens to easily make the full transition to a blockchain-based system, NECTEC’s current plan seems solid. A noted benefit of this blockchain technology is that voters will not need to physically travel to polling stations, as blockchains are secure enough to allow voting to occur online.
With these kinds of steps under its immediate belt, Thailand is poised to make serious gains in the field of blockchain-based electoral systems. Due to the secure nature of blockchains, elections are frequently discussed as one of the most immediately promising use cases for the technology. In this respect, Thailand is positioning itself well ahead of the curve.