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Philippines consider blockchain voting in elections

The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) ran mock trials on blockchain-based voting in an attempt to amend the low voter turnout the country experiences.

Filipino residents as well as the diaspora – known as ‘overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW), will be given the option of voting from home, should the country make the move to remote voting.

In the upcoming 2022 polls, only 1.6m OFW’s has registered, out of a possible 10m.

James Jimenez, spokesperson for Comelec said the hassle of leaving home is the reason for low voter turnout.

“Regardless of who you ask, voters always say that the low voter turnout is primarily because it is such a hassle for them to go to the embassies and consulates just to vote,” he said.

It’s essentially a bidding war between US-based Voatz, UK-based Smartmatic, and Spanish company Indra Sistemas, who are all vying to be the company responsible for the blockchain technology for elections in the Philippines.

This isn’t the Philippines’ first venture into blockchain as authorities entailed the technology when attempting to clean up the Pasig River and other bodies of water.

The conversation of blockchain technology being integrated into the nation’s voting system is not a new idea and has been discussed years prior.

In 2019, Lito Averia, a journalist for The Manila Times, explained what the new voting process would look like and how the country should approach it.