The Central Election Commission of Russia head, Ella Pamfilova, has indicated that the body is looking to unveil a system based on blockchain that will be used to offer protections against rigging and hacking. The system is also expected to offer voters enhanced convenience. Pamfilova indicated that she would raise the plans with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin since a demand for such a system existed among citizens.
Pamfilova added that the electoral body must preemptively for future elections given that the current one had ended. Per Pamfilova the planned system would prevent electoral fraud being conducted by all the players. According to Pamfilova the blockchain-based system could be used as early as the 2020 presidential elections.
In the past blockchain-based technologies have been used in presidential elections in Russia though not in the actual voting. The technology was for instance used to conduct exit polls during the elections that took place last month and which saw the incumbent being reelected for another four-year term. Per the Russian electoral body the blockchain-based technology which was used in conducting exit polls acted to prevent tampering of collected data. Additionally it made hack attacks ineffective as well as ensured that the collection and aggregation of data was transparent.
This comes in the wake of the state of West Virginia making history by deploying blockchain technology for use next month in a Senate race. The system will be used by deployed military officers, their dependents and spouses from Monongalia and Harrison counties.
Archaic voting methods
Traditionally military officers participate in elections using archaic methods and this includes email, fax or snail mail. This leads to some of them being denied their basic right as these methods are not anonymous. Additionally these methods can be delayed sometimes leading to the votes arriving too late and thus not being counted.
According to Mac Warner, the Secretary of State in West Virginia, the blockchain system will ensure that there is transparency and anonymity. The blockchain-based voting system has been made possible by a partnership bringing together the Office of the Secretary of State of West Virginia, tech startup Voatz, blockchain accelerator New America and Tusk/Montgomery Philanthropies.
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