PhD Theses

PhD theses from CMI

Secure Electronic Voting System Adoption: Ghana as a Case Study

Samuel Agbesi

ABSTRACT

The adoption of an internet voting system in elections in Ghana and Africa has been one of the main discussion points among various stakeholders due to the challenges in the current paper-based system. These challenges and irregularities in the current electoral process have resulted in violence in other African countries. But there are varied opinions about the readiness of the use of this internet voting system in democratic elections in Africa due to various factors. Several African countries that have attempted to implement different forms of an electronic voting system in elections have not yet been successful due to various challenges. It has been argued that the use of an internet voting system has the potential of enhancing the electoral process and bringing trust and credibility to the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana. Notwithstanding these potential benefits of using an internet voting system in an election, other challenges exist that are perceived to be associated with the use of the internet voting system in elections. 

Past studies on the internet voting system have focused on technical requirements, without much attention to the social aspect of the technology. Furthermore, studies that examine the adoption of an internet voting system from a social context also examined its adoption from an individual context. Hence there is a lack of studies that examine the adoption of internet voting systems in developing countries from an organizational perspective. The Ph.D. thesis which is based on research papers examined the adoption of an internet voting system in elections from an organizational context by investigating the main barriers and potential drivers in the adoption of an i-voting system in Ghana. The study also examines the requirements of a secure internet voting system and proposed a framework of a secure internet voting system based on blockchain technology. The study adopted an integrated framework as a theoretical lens.

For the first part of the thesis which examines the barriers and drivers and barriers to internet voting adoption, a qualitative approach was adopted. Semi-structured interviews, observation, and document studies were used to gather qualitative data for analysis. Interview participants include Top officials of the Electoral Commission and Political parties’ national executives in charge of elections. Furthermore, the pre-election processes, which include voter registration and exhibitions was observed, as well as the voting process during the December 7, 2016 elections. Finally, elections report from the European Union Observers, CODEO (“Coalition of Domestic Election Observers”), and EC Ghana were also examined. The second part of the thesis, which conceptualizes and designs a framework for a secure internet voting system, adopted a “Design Science Research Method” (DSRM) approach in coming out with the proposed internet voting system framework.

The results of the finding identified themes such as legal and regulatory issues, political challenges, social challenges, and technical challenges as the main barriers to internet voting adoption. With drivers to internet voting adoption, the main themes that were identified include Pressure from Government, Pressure from Political Parties, EC top management support and EC readiness, and Technological factors. Finally, the study proposed three secure internet voting system framework that was based on blockchain technology using a smart contract that can provide trust and, transparency in the voting process.

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PhD theses