MIT researchers: Blockchain-based voting may introduce more problems to electronic voting

  • MIT researchers said electronic and blockchain-based voting is poised for serious failure.
  • They argued that physical voting remains a secured approach to ensuring accurate election results.

Many industry experts, including Vitalik Buterin, recently relayed their opinions on how blockchain technology can help reshape voting systems, based on its properties that include transparency and immutability of data. While this looks promising to ensure the security of elections, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came up with a contrasting disclosure. They fear that blockchain-based voting might result in more trust issues for the voting systems. 

Issues with blockchain-based voting systems

Having analyzed the security risks involved with online and offline voting systems, the MIT researchers argued that electronic voting is riskier and can be easily manipulated even with blockchain than physical voting. The researchers red-flagged reports that blockchain technology will improve the security of voting systems, arguing that blockchain-based voting will worsen the case with undetectable and nation-scale election failures.

The researchers raised a case where an election result gets manipulated erroneously or by a hacker without being detected. There might also be a need to repeat the election if the faults are detected. For these reasons and more, the MIT researchers believed that blockchain-based votings are poised “serious failures.” It may result in more problems rather than providing security to electronic voting. 

Physical votes are hard to manipulate

MIT researchers rated physical and mail-in voting as a more secure system for voting. They argued that paper ballots allow for more accuracy in elections, and it is harder to exploit. “A key goal of an election is to prove to the losing party that they did, in fact, lose.” Even in intense scrutiny, a viable election system ought to present convincing evidence to concerned parties, proving that the results are correct, according to the researchers.