P Xenos and M Bacina
Virginia legislature looks to blockchain for elections
A lawmaker in Virginia has submitted a resolution that calls on the state government to study the use of blockchain in elections.
The Bill entitled 'Requesting the Department of Elections to study the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results. Report', was pre-filed just before the end of 2019 by State Delegate Hala S. Ayala, and calls for the state's Department of Education to "study the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results."
The bill states that in conducting its study, the Department of Elections shall:
determine the kinds of blockchain technology that could be used to secure voter records and election results;
determine the costs and benefits of using such technology as compared to traditional registration and election security measures, and;
make recommendations on whether and how to implement blockchain technology in practices affecting the security of voter records and election results.
The bill, if passed, would further request the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which serves as the state's primary IT office, to provide assistance during the study.
The Bill states encouraged that:
The Department of Elections shall complete its meetings for the first year by November 30, 2020, and for the second year by November 30, 2021, and the Department of Elections shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an executive summary and report of its findings and recommendations for publication as a House or Senate document for each year.
The US is no stranger to this sort of legislative effort, as a strikingly similar bill was proposed in New York back in 2017. In Australia, blockchain company, Horizon State were contracted by the South Australia Government to provide the technology and support for the blockchain-based public election for the inaugural Minister’s Recreational Fishing Advisory Council.
The then Horizon State CEO remarked then that:
The South Australian government is very forward thinking and we are honoured they chose us to provide the technology.
Blockchain for voting is an excellent use-case, and a great way for the government to dip its collective toes into the blockchain pond. When will we see the next Australian election use blockchain for voting?