Part I of the Global Blockchain Business Council’s ‘Open Source Ideas’: State of Global Voting Systems, Technology, and Government

Co-Authors: Riyad Carey, GBBC; Mercina Tillemann-Dick, GBBC; Sandra Ro, GBBC Contributors: Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, Blockchain Trust Accelerator (New America)


Congratulations! You have decided to vote for the first time. But before you can cast your ballot, a lot of pieces need to come together. To start, you need to give yourself enough time to register because only 21 states allow for same day registration (SDR) and some states (including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina) require registration at least 30 days before an election. Next, you’ll have to determine how to register. As of this writing, 13 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Texas) still do not allow online voter registration. As you are filling out the paperwork, you will be asked if you are already registered to vote in any other states. Assuming you moved away from the state where you first got your driver’s license, this might be a difficult question: did you check the box asking you if you would like to register way back when?

Once you have completed and submitted your registration, you wait. Depending on your state, you may be able to check a government website to see if your registration was successful; but in many states you can only confirm your status by calling or visiting an election office.

Finally, you wake up on Election Day, excited to participate in the democratic process for the first time. You head to your polling place before work, hoping to beat the crowd. But there is already a line. You decide to come back after work so as not to arrive late and draw the ire of your not-very-understanding boss.

Throughout the day you check social media and are bombarded by reports of long lines at polls
across the country. But you are not easily dissuaded (as this process has shown) and you travel
back to your polling place after work to find the line just as you left it. You wait and finally get to cast your vote, which is stored on the voting machine to be tallied and delivered to a central

As polls across the country start to close, election results start trickling in; races are called in favor of one candidate or another. Then your state is called with only 1% of precincts reporting – you know your vote technically matters, but it doesn’t feel that way….

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