From Athenian democracy to the present day, elections have served as a fundamental tool for citizen participation in political decision-making. However, it is disheartening to see that in certain countries, electoral processes continue to be governed by the same mechanisms as in the last century.

In Spain, for example, there have been advancements in the adoption of postal voting, but both the execution and direct participation in elections still rely on analogue methods.

The reality is that technology has also permeated this field, and in some countries, it has already been implemented into their electoral processes. Today, we explore how innovation and technological advances can streamline the voting process.


Online voting

One of the ways technology can transform elections is through the implementation of online voting. Every election day, the media highlights the challenges encountered by individuals with reduced mobility in exercising their right to vote. Architectural barriers, unavailability of ambulances, and unpredictable health problems create obstacles that hinder equal access to voting.

The implementation of tools to facilitate online voting would improve accessibility for all voters and potentially reduce the costs associated with the entire electoral process. Moreover, online voting has the potential to improve the accuracy and security of elections, although these aspects pose significant challenges that need to be addressed.


The potential of blockchain technology in elections

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform elections, ensuring improved security and transparency in the process. Several examples of blockchain-based electoral systems have emerged worldwide. Notably, Estonia has implemented a national-level digital voting system based on blockchain technology, while the Swiss city of Zug has adopted a similar system at a local level.


Artificial Intelligence: from predicting results to influencing the vote

Artificial Intelligence has emerged as another powerful tool in the electoral landscape. Interestingly, its use appears to be more prevalent in contexts where voting still predominantly adheres to traditional mechanisms, as seen in Spain.

AI technology is finding numerous applications, both in campaign strategies and party programme proposals. For example, in Denmark, a group of artists launched a political party that used AI to design its electoral programme after analysing the proposals put forth by various small parties in the country since the 1970s.

However, what if this technology is used to influence outcomes? The reality is that Artificial Intelligence is already being employed to generate and shape public discourse on social networks. These are the well-known bots that have been so prominent in electoral campaigns such as those of Trump or Bolsonaro. Many predict that AI technology will advance to the point where it can write highly personalised messages capable of influencing voting preferences and altering the course of elections.

Additionally, political parties are increasingly using AI to create campaign materials. A recent illustration of this is the case of En Comú Podem, which employed this technology in their television advertisement during the municipal election campaign.

Lastly, a study conducted by BYU explored the potential of replacing humans with AI in voting intention polls. Researchers created “artificial voters” that were assigned certain demographic characteristics, and compared their voting patterns with election results from past elections. The findings revealed a significant resemblance between the voting behaviours of humans and artificial voters, indicating that AI has the capacity to accurately predict voting intentions (source).




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