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Sierra Leone's initial Blockchain Voting results are out

Mar 12, 2018 Posted /  4874 Views

Sierra Leone's initial Blockchain Voting results are out

According to the information provided by the Blockchain startup- Agora, the company published what appears to be the most recent results of the hotly contended Sierra Leone election; the first presidential vote tracked utilizing the technology.

After the voting closed on Wednesday, as many as 400,000 ballots were manually entered into Agora's blockchain system by a team of 280 authorized observers working in as many locations. At present, the exact number of votes for each candidate aren't being revealed to the public, just the percentages. But Agora says that it plans to make the results auditable in a public format in the coming days.

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While this is a breakthrough for distributed ledger technology, the disordered circumstances encompassing the election, not to mention the inadequate scope of Agora's work, show how far blockchain is from reaching its theoretical potential for voting. One thing though, Agora, which was accredited by Sierra Leone's National Election Committee (NEC), didn't count all the ballots, just those cast in the country's most populous district, where the capital city, Freetown, is located. The NEC's tally is the official one; Agora, like other accredited observers, is providing an independent count for comparison.

"These are the final results from Agora to the Western area," said Agora's CEO, Leonardo Gammar. "The NEC is going to have its own results. Other observers are going to have their own results."

Moreover, public blockchain purists may have difficulty depending on Agora's count. Most of the technology developed by Agora that allows node operators access is presently patent-pending, Gammar said, so there won't be a completely open-source repository on Github for foreigners to inspect.

Nevertheless, future elections are presumed to practice the full stack of the company's technology and will be more entirely auditable via integration with a public blockchain. Going forward, Gammar says that by additionally closing the opportunities for fraud, and extending the zones tracked by auditable blockchain software, additional skepticism about any number of elections held across the world could be eliminated.

"We were accredited by the NEC to do this, to do a study in the Western area," he said, adding:

"If they like how it work, if they're happy with everything, they'll make it wider next time, and they'll back us more and more."

The early morning of Results

The results from Agora's sample showed the incumbent party candidate Samura Kamara, of the All People's Congress, with a 12 point lead. But as the official results from NEC aren't expected to be announced until Friday night at the earliest, the wait seems even longer, given confounding factors that cannot be explained by a blockchain.

For instance, the Sierra Leone police earlier this week as reported in the media raided the office of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), whose candidate came in second place in Agora's tally. While the announced reason for the raid was the police suspecting an election hack underway, party leaders claimed it was an effort to threaten the opposition.

Nevertheless, despite all these setbacks, the NEC promulgated that only about 0.2 percent of the election boxes used were "problematic," falling in line with a profession made on Friday by the European Union Election Observation mission that characterized the elections as "well organized."

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Tags: blockchain

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