The local government of Moscow intends to test blockchain-based e-voting in university student council elections scheduled for June 2019. The exercise is set to be conducted by the Moscow Department of Information Technology (DIT) in collaboration with the Moscow City Election Commission.
“We plan to do a test vote in the summer, at the end of June, until the list of participants is determined. While we had conversations with student associations, there are elections to the main councils that have been held on the blockchain for a long time. And we are planning to collect some feedback and see what changes will have to be made to the program,“ said DIT deputy head Artem Kostyrko.
The final invention has been handed to the Moscow election committee on May 15-16. After the Term of Reference (TOR) has been accepted, and the State Duma has adopted the draft act on e-voting in the final reading, the DIT will publish a program that any Russian citizen can test.
The local government of Moscow first submitted a bill to embrace blockchain e-voting system last February. Two months later, the State Duma adopted in the first reading a draft bill on preliminary e-voting exercise at the Moscow City Duma elections next September.
The draft allows the exercise of remote e-voting as a trial in the elections of deputies of the Moscow City Council of the seventh conference in a single or many single-mandate electoral districts of the city. However, the pilot exercise will not replace the regular voting; it will just be an alternative voting way for Muscovites.
What Will Blockchain E-Voting Offer to Russians if Implemented Well?
Russia’s interest in distributed ledger systems replacing the traditional voting system has potential benefits because of the significant technological upgrade of the country’s electoral system. Historically, all Russian elections have been embracing a paper-based system that is marred with loopholes like security breaches, fraud, and corruption.
Blockchain technology could present an upgraded system to the Russian voters, which could potentially solve these issues.
The underlying principles of blockchain, like transparency, will facilitate vote tracking and tallying from various polling stations while still keeping the privacy of the voters because of the anonymous transactions alongside the ledger system.
The fact that blockchain is being explored beyond the private sector by government agencies around the world to improve the delivery of key public functions suggests that the technology may have a bright future in the years to come.