Tech

Dennis Wafula

Moscow authorities to test blockchain e-voting system

Authorities in Moscow are planning to test a blockchain-based electronic voting system in the coming university student council election in late June 2019.

According to local reports, this project will be tested with the support of the Moscow City Election Commission (Mosgorizbirkom) and the Moscow Department of Information Technology (DIT). Artem Kostyrko, the deputy head of the Information Technology Department (DIT) of the capital said:

“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 long time ago. Changes will have to be made to the program.”

Kostyrko revealed that technical specifications for the pilot program would go to Mosizbirkom for approval in mid-May. Once authorities pass the necessary legislation and the commission approves the specifications, the DIT will launch the program in public.

The bill to use blockchain in e-voting system was first submitted in February by the city council of Moscow. In late April, the Russian Duma passed a bill allowing the Moscow City Duma to carry out such e-voting during the next elections, to be held on September 8. This project is aimed at safeguarding the process and results of e-voting.

Earlier this year in March, Russia’s ruling party launched a blockchain based e-voting system that will allow citizens to participate in primary elections. The system was aimed at simplifying the entire electoral process. Vyacheslav Sateev, United Russia head of IT stated:

“Access to voting via the Internet will be provided to citizens who have passed authorization through the public services portal. The main principle is to make the elections transparent by eliminating all intermediate links in the electoral process. It (the new system) will collect and provide all information on the voting process and the results will directly be availed at the polling station or even to the voter himself.”

Russia is slowly building on its blockchain community. In April, authorities in the country announced its intention to explore blockchain through regulatory sandboxes. In the announcement, authorities explained that the sandboxes would cover four regions including Moscow Krai, Perm, and Kaluga.

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