In what is possibly a first not only for Afrika but the world, the country used a blockchain solution to tally up and provide proof of the recently held elections in the country. The blockchain solution used was developed by a Switzerland based voting technology company, Agora.
During the elections in Sierra Leone, Agora used their proprietary blockchain distributed ledger to keep track of the elections contested by 16 candidates.
"Sorry for being silent the last days. The team is engaged in Sierra Leone's presidential elections, and we are in Freetown with our partners, the European Commission, helping our blockchain node operators (Red Cross, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, University of Fribourg) audit today's election results. We are proud to announce that our results in the western district are 2 hours ahead of the National Election Commission and all NGOs, with 86% tallied. I'll get back to you later tonight with more," said Leonardo Gammar, CEO at Agora, in the company's Telegram group as tallying of votes was underway on 7 March 2018.
A blockchain based solution that uses a publicly visible ledger for keeping track of elections could be a better alternative to, or even complement, electronic voting machines. Currently, opposition politicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo are opposed to the use of electronic voting machines as they feel these can be hacked and results manipulated.
"First, people in Sierra Leone want to vote in peace and have hope. They are also very brave! There is no private transportation allowed so they had to take the buses to the polling centres which is quite a difficult task here. It has been humbling to see and take part in. I’d like to show my respect for our observers out here who has sometimes no choice but to walk for hours to take part in peaceful and transparent elections. I’ve learned that a country doesn’t need to have impressive infrastructures to start working towards democracy and technical improvements. I am grateful to Sierra Leone for showing the world how visionary they are and take the chance on us so we can continue to figure out how to build a custom blockchain for their governance needs. These challenges are where we find our strengths. If we can make it happen in SL we can make happen everywhere around the earth. Thank you Eran, see you soon!" concluded Gammar.