The Blockchain: One of the Solutions to a Post-Election Crisis in Africa


In our previous articles, we have told you about what Blockchain is and its popular use in various branches of industries. In this article, without going into purely technical demonstrations, we will talk about what this technology can bring to solutions for a post-election crisis. Especially in Africa where the results are still disputed due to lack of confidence in the traditional electoral process and/or proven or suspected irregularities.

As far as elections are concerned, the advent of ICT has undergone a revolution. The latter have intervened in the field of voting by introducing electronic voting. Electronic voting is a materialized voting system with automated counting. In particular, ballot papers using computer systems.

Compared to traditional voting, electronic voting has plenty of advantages such as reducing errors related to paper media, obtaining results almost immediately once the vote is closed, confidentiality, the secrecy of the vote and a significant cost reduction.

Technology for storing and transmitting information, transparent, secure and decentralized and without a control body. The Blockchain was born with the virtual currency Bitcoin to secure payment over the internet without the need of a trusted third party like the bank.

The Blockchain is primarily a concept and a technology that guarantees transparency and security of information transfer. From that moment on, many other applications become possible, such as its use in the election process.


Voting has always been a sensitive topic in the world but especially in Africa. While states pride themselves on being Democrats, for some, voting equates to war and insecurity… Election processes are almost always marred by significant suspicions of fraud. Which often results in post-election violence.

Traditional elections are complex events to organize: registration on lists, reception of millions of voters, mobilization of agents and counting of the ballots. We know that for fair elections several conditions have to be met, such as: a fair election campaign, access to polling stations and of course the correct counting of votes.

In addition, voters have confidence in the veracity of the results if they believe that the applicable rules have been complied with. Faced with the demand for the highly complex and expensive traditional voting system, the many scandals of rigged elections, accusations of “ballot filling” and malfunctions, the Blockchain appears as the panacea in the face of an outdated traditional system. A powerful solution to ensure secure voting.

This is the project already started by a number of countries determined to use this decentralized and inviolable registry in the context of their elections. These new systems promise greater flexibility and improved security, making election manipulation and computer hacking nearly impossible.

Election transparency is therefore an essential foundation for voter confidence and the legitimacy of elected officials. The Blockchain thus makes it possible to give the trust that is sometimes lacking in certain countries.

What could the Blockchain be used for?

The Blockchain is a database that contains the history of all exchanges between its users since its inception. This database is secure and distributed: it is shared by the different users, without intermediaries, allowing everyone to check the validity of the chain.

The purpose of using the Blockchain technology in the election process is to guide the elections in real time and make the voting completely independent, free and transparent to ensure the integrity of the election process. This is possible because the Blockchain is a decentralized system. That is, it is not administered by any organization, and in this case by an electoral commission.

With traditional voting, it is impossible to know what will become of it once the ballot is slid into the ballot box. The implementation of a decentralized system makes it possible to follow the vote and count the votes in real time.

One of the properties of the Blockchain is the inability to change the information contained on it. Any attempted fraud involves altering the information of a ballot paper without being detected: something impossible because each block is cryptographically linked to the previous one. Moreover, with the Blockchain, the error rate during the count would be close to zero.

This technology would therefore be used to enable presidential candidates and voters to securely access the results. This would allow each candidate to see the progress of the vote as it progresses and thus prevent electoral fraud. It will also avoid the possibility of disputes about the results that could endanger peace in the country.

The Blockchain voting system will work like the Bitcoin cryptocurrency except that the transactions will not be monetary but electoral. Every vote is verified, validated and recorded by all participants and even third parties. As with the Bitcoin, it would be enough to download the software to your computer to see the legitimacy of the least vote in real time.

Thanks to the Blockchain, the election file will be transparent. Since anyone who has downloaded the application will be able to monitor voter registration in real time and easily check if a person who does not meet the requirements has been registered fraudulently.

Security is another central element. The solidity of the Blockchain, in the face of computer attacks, no longer needs to be demonstrated as it is a distributed ledger. If you want to corrupt it then you have to do it on all machines. Which is still very difficult. It’s as if everyone has an authentic copy of every voting booth at home. Manipulating a single vote will require manipulation on all scattered copies.

Everyone can see the recordings, but only accredited persons can enter the data. This ensures great transparency. In this way, the possibilities of electoral fraud can be minimized. Even if the weak link turns out to be the accredited persons themselves.

Access to polling stations would no longer be a problem as voters could vote remotely (home, work, etc.) with a simple click. This would allow a greater majority of citizens to participate in the elections.

As part of the Blockchain voting, the citizen has a Token associated with a non-visible private email address that guarantees their anonymity. By structurally prohibiting double transactions, the Blockchain prevents voters from voting multiple times, guaranteeing full transparency about the voting process.

The Limits of Blockchain Technology in the Election Process

This technology will not put an end to some of the major challenges associated with traditional elections such as: the problems of unequal distribution of campaign funds or interference.

Moreover, voting via the Blockchain implies an internet connection, which is a problem especially in poor countries.

In addition, the Blockchain is a complex technology and difficult to understand. It is therefore a big problem that elections are organized with technology that people do not understand.

The question of the success of the Blockchain implementation in Africa depends on the mindset of the leaders. All it takes is real political will from the decision-makers.

Médiatrice Nkurunziza