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Moscow will Test Blockchain-Based Electronic Voting in June

Moscow will Test Blockchain-Based Electronic Voting in June

Moscow authorities will reportedly test a blockchain-based electronic voting system scheduled for late June, according to local media outlet TASS.

Announced on Monday by the deputy head of the department of information technology (DIT) Artem Kostyrko, the test will be carried out during the university council elections and is intended to be a trial run of the eventual implementation of the e-voting system during the Mayoral elections coming up in September. As translated from the source, Kostyrko stated:

“We plan to do a test vote in summer, at the end of June, until the list of participants is determined… And we are planning to collect some feedback and see what changes will have to be made to the program.”

According to Kostyrko, Moscow City Election Commission will also be involved in the process. The final technical details of the program will be sent to the Moscow Election Committee between 15 – 16 May for approval. Once the technical specifications are approved, coupled with the adoption of the draft law on electronic voting, the program will be made public for anyone to test.

Earlier in April, at its first reading – as a show of good faith in the promises of the technology – the state of Duma had adopted a draft law to experiment the electronic voting of the elections in September. The aim of the blockchain-enabled e-voting is to protect the process and the results. Although the e-voting system is touted as an alternative to the legacy system and not necessarily a replacement.

While the status of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the Russian Federation are still unregulated, Russia’s blockchain exploration continues with high expectations of leveraging every property of the distributed ledger. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin in his address to the parliament had issued orders to facilitate the legal framework of the digital asset industry by 1 July.

 

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Blockchain Voting May Be Only Route to Accuracy at the Polls

Paper-based voting is beginning to have its detractors, despite an African politician’s recent animosity towards electronic-based counting techniques planned for the polls in the lead up to Congo’s General Election in December.

Blockchain is being tested in all areas and voting is a field where it could have a significant impact, improving on some existing electronic methods which have been introduced in some regions to provide speed and clarity to the process of electing a government, council or simply making some changes to civic laws.

As the US administration still hedges its bets that things will blow over regarding accusations of Russian interference in the process which led to president Trump’s election, nations around the globe are looking for ways to add far more transparency to the end product of electioneering.

The US has already trialed blockchain voting technology. West Virginia trialed it in this year’s mid-term Senate elections, while the labs in Switzerland’s Crypto Valley experimented with eID, a system designed to allow residents to vote electronically on civic matters. In Indonesia, a country with a 20-year history of vote rigging, an Australian blockchain company is currently working on a digital ballot box based on blockchain to solve this problem, after initial trials in Sumatra.

Estonia in Eastern Europe has been far ahead of the rest, using electronic voting in its elections since 2005 with 30.5% of all votes in their 2015 parliamentary elections cast through the country’s i-voting system. Japan has taken things further by trialing electronic voting with the secure backing of a DLT-based system using ID swipe cards, which are then encrypted.

While electronic voting is a step forward, it isn’t infallible unless backed by DLT. One non-DLT electronic voting system used only in Virginia recently subtracted one vote for every 100 cast. Another used in 23 US states had an unpatched vulnerability for over 11 years.

Congo’s upcoming election to replace President Joseph Kabila after 17 years as the country’s leader is already running into problems due to electronic voting before a vote has even been cast. The introduction of this form of voting and the government’s exclusion of a number of candidates from the ballot has enraged opposition parties. The introduction of tablet devices for the purpose of casting votes has provoked accusations that the machines are even more vulnerable to vote-rigging than paper and that Congo’s poor power supply could cause systems to fail during the election.

“They are not voting machines they are cheating machines,” argues opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. “They are not reliable, too slow and there are 10 million fake voters who have already been registered. We, the opposition, have united to say no to the machines.”

According to followmyvote.com, who are attempting to build an online voting platform using blockchain tech, DLT is the only accurate and truly transparent way of reflecting the will of the people precisely and without error, suggesting on their website: “This way, everyone can agree on the final count because they can count the votes themselves, and because of the blockchain audit trail, they can verify that no votes were changed or removed, and no illegitimate votes were added.”

In the words of Joseph Stalin, perhaps one of recent history’s most infamous manipulators:

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”

 

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