Sierra Leone's election heads to run-off after opposition wins first round

Sierra Leone opposition candidate edges ahead in presidential poll

The chief commissioner of the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone on Tuesday declared the candidate of Sierra Leone People's Party, Julius Maada Bio, victor of last week presidential vote in the West African nation.

Sierra Leone has cemented itself as the first country in the world to use blockchain technology in order to verify votes in the latest election.

This is the first time that Sierra Leone authorities would take charge of the electoral process since end of the country's 11-year civil war in 2002, and the withdrawal of the UN Mission in 2014. 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.

Why it matters: Blockchain technology has real potential for elections, since it can be used to create tamper-proof audit trails.

A women cast her ballot as part of the general elections, on 7 March 2018 at a polling station in Freetown in Sierra Leone.

The blockchain method primarily used by those engaging in cryptocurrency transactions is a decentralized mechanism where all the information is stored in blocks, can be viewed and altered by registered users.

Grammar told Quartz: "I also thought that if we can do it in Sierra Leone, we can do it everywhere else".

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