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Ukraine Election Official Launches Voting Trial Using NEM's Blockchain

A member of the Ukraine Central Election Commission is investigating the use of blockchain in elections.

Oleksandr Stelmakh, working for Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, commented on the ongoing trial Tuesday by way of Facebook. The trial run began back in July when Stelmakh encouraged his friends on Facebook to participate in a “test vote” that had been created in partnership with a local NEM Foundation group, using NEM’s blockchain platform.

“One of the basic useful properties of the blockchain is the impossibility of making changes to the saved information …These are the properties we tried to use to save the information of the local ballot sessions,” Stelmakh wrote.

He added:

“It must be noted that the experiment was held in the test environment of the blockchain NEM and for the transactions used by the test coins that were kindly given the representative of the NEM Foundation in Ukraine, Anton Bosenko. The blockchain test environment has 28 nodes. “

Stelmakh also wrote that based on the results, it would cost roughly $1,227 to place a node which can be used to vote in each police station, which he said was a “small” price to pay for the technology.

Stelmakh reminded readers in his post that the trial period for the blockchain experiment was still ongoing and polls using “test coins” had not yet closed.

The official’s work represents the latest effort to apply the technology for tabulating votes, with the idea being that blockchain could be used to create an immutable record – or, at least, an auxiliary one – to help ease issues when tallying final counts. Blockchain has also been advanced as a tool for proxy voting, in which shareholders of a company vote on corporate matters.

Editor’s note: Comments in this article have been translated from Ukrainian. 

Vote image via Shutterstock

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West Virginia Piloting Blockchain Voting App in Senate Election

West Virginia is trialing a voting system for absentee voters in the military using a mobile app powered by blockchain technology.

In a statement Thursday, the West Virginia Secretary of State, Mac Warner, said the pilot is being offered to deployed military personnel and their dependents from the counties of Harrison and Monongalia for the May 8 election for West Virginia’s Senate primary election.

The application is said to provide a more secure and anonymous method for absentee residents to cast their votes.

According to a white paper about the pilot project, lending technological support is Voatz, a voting technology startup that has previously raised $2.2 million from Medici Ventures, the subsidiary of online retail giant Overstock.com.

The effort comes as a result of technological obstacles that absentee voters from the military have encountered with the current “cumbersome” system, according to Warner.

“Absentee ballot systems previously offered to overseas military voters did not ensure anonymity, and many military voters were concerned their mail-in or faxed ballots may not be received in time, or may not be counted. The new mobile voting system resolves these concerns,” the white paper says.

Further down the road, Warner said the plan is to extend the effort to all 55 of the state’s counties during the 2018 general election in November 2018 if the pilot proves to be successful.

The effort also coincides with a legislative move from the West Virginia House of Representatives that is seeking to form a special study group to research ways to adopt blockchain technology across different government services.

West Virginia state flag via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.