Sierra Leone to Hold Election Runoff, Becomes First Country Ever to Use Blockchain Technology to Vote
Sierra Leone's 2018 election is an unprecedented one for the country.
Last Wednesday, the people of Sierra Leone headed to the polls to elect a new president. The race was primarily between Julius Maada Bio of the opposition party, Sierra Leone's People Party and Samura Kamara of the country's ruling party All People's Progress.
The two share a unique history. Back in 1996, Bio stepped into power following a military coup, in which he ousted then-leader Valentine Strasser, reports BBC Africa. He stood down after three months, when Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was elected, but not before appointing his current rival, Kamara as his minister of finance.
From the onset of this election, there were doubts that either party would win all of the seats. While Bio eventually won 43.3 percent of the vote, barely beaiting Kamara's 42.7 percent, this was not enough to secure the election, as Sierra Leonean law requires a candidate to win by 55 percent of the vote.
Sierra Leoneans will head to the polls again later this month for a second round of voting.
It's been an eventful vote for the country's citizens for more than one reason. Following the initial vote, Sierra Leone also became the first country ever to use block-chain technology to help verify voting results, reports Business Insider—a move that proponents hope will help prevent election tampering by storing election data in a public record.
Last year, Kenya faced a chaotic election re-run after opposition leader Raila Odinga went to the Supreme Court tochallenge the win of incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, though things are shaping up to go a lot smoother in Sierra Leone.
The run-off is set to take place on March 27.