West Virginia University’s (WVU) Student Government Association (SGA) is debating whether to use a blockchain-based voting platform for its upcoming elections, according to the college’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Athenauem.
The initiative, proposed by WVU students Ankur Kumar and Ricky Kirkendall, would allow students to use iPad apps to vote for Student Body President and Vice President, as opposed to traditional voting machines.
If implemented, the students argue, the plan would save the SGA anywhere from $5,000–$7,000, the difference between renting voting machines or purchasing iPads that can run the blockchain-enabled voting apps.
The SGA’s elections chair, Emma Harrison, was optimistic about the plan, but said she believes that the technology would need to be tested more widely before it is implemented.
Harrison told the news source:
“I don’t see it working for this SGA election since it’s so soon, but if it were approved it would probably go into place for the next Homecoming election.”
Not everyone at the college is onboard with testing a new and emerging technology for the election, however.
One issue taken up by a campus advisor is the fact that Kumar and Kendall have created the app they want to implement, called SureVoting.
“I love the idea, I love the premise. But I find something a little unethical about someone who is going to vote in the election being responsible for the coding of the results of the election,” SGA advisor Daniel Brewster told the newspaper.
Elsewhere, Kumar made the case for the plan by emphasizing the benefits of the blockchain’s immutable digital ledger.
“Votes that are entered in the blockchain can never be altered or deleted by us – the coders – or by a University administrator or by a student,” Kumar said.
Representatives from the WVU SGA did not respond to requests for further comment as of press time.
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