On 2 January 2018, the Bangkok Post reported that Thailand’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) is preparing to integrate blockchain technology into e-voting.
Thailand is not the first country to have thought of the idea of utilising blockchain in elections. The U.S. reportedly had a successful trial election through mobile blockchain voting for West Virginians who were stationed in overseas armed services. Japan’s Tsukuba and Swiss city of Zug have also conducted multiple blockchain voting trials.
According to NECTEC, which is a statutory government organization under the National Science and Technology Development Agency and the Ministry of Science and Technology, the voting system will have a controller, voters and participating candidates. The controller’s main function is to verify the identities of voters and the qualifications of candidates. Voters supposedly will be able to vote through e-mail after their identities are verified via mobile cameras.
Chalee Vorakulpipat, the head of the cybersecurity laboratory at NECTEC, commented through the Bangkok Post that the blockchain-based voting system could be implemented as the country becomes more advanced in the technology field. Once 5G Internet is made available in the whole country, the voting system would then be accessible to all its residents.
He explained that the main goal of the new system is to reduce fraudulent activities and ensure data integrity. The new system could also be applied to all types of elections such as national, provincial, community elections and voting for the board of directors in business firms. Additionally, the system would make elections faster and cheaper for Thailanders.
Vorakulpipat did mention that it would take time for the voting system to be implemented fully, since its implementation follows the progress in which the country gains Internet access and whether its residents could obtain the necessary means of identity verification.
He further elaborated that the blockchain voting system could be tested short term in smaller environments. For example, Thais who were living abroad could go to nearby embassies or consulates to verify their identities and vote through the new system. Smaller elections such as voting in organizations like universities and committee boards are also decent trial locations for the system.