Sierra Leone: Coalition for Change Party denies newspaper story

Sierra Leone election workers hold ballot papers as counting takes place at a polling station in Freetown

Sierra Leone opposition candidate edges ahead in presidential poll

The two parties will now square off once again in a tight second-round presidential election runoff later this month.

Swiss-based company Agora logged and verified each paper ballot digitally using specialized blockchain technology.

Why it matters: Blockchain technology has real potential for elections, since it can be used to create tamper-proof audit trails. "A country like Sierra Leone can ultimately minimize a lot of the fall-out of a highly contentious election by using software like this".

Swiss blockchain company Agora provided the service to Sierra Leone's Western District, which houses the nation's capital of Freetown and is the country's most populous area. In Sierra Leone, 280 designated individuals manually counted votes and wrote the data to a permissioned blockchain-which could in theory allow those humans to tamper with the numbers.

Leonardo Grammar, CEO of Agora, said Sierra Leone's NEC was "open-minded" about the potential of blockchain in its elections after talks began late previous year.

President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping aside after his maximum two steps in office.

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.

Chairman of Sierra Leone's National Electoral Commission, Mohamed Nfa Ali Conteh, announces the results of the first round of Sierra Leone presidential election in Freetown, Sierra Leone March 13, 2018.

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