Blockchain-powered elections in Russia

Governmental authorities in Saratov, Russia declared to have held “the biggest blockchain-powered elections in history”. Around 15,000 citizens would cast their votes in a youth parliamentary elections.

 

These blockchain-powered elections were conducted through a cybersecurity company known as Kaspersky Labs. Kaspersky Labs is known to have developed Polys, an online voting platform functioning with blockchain technology. The cybersecurity company has claimed that its platform powers “secure, anonymous and scalable online voting”, furthermore ensuring transparency, as well as encryption that securing voter anonymity. Polys runs through the Ethereum smart contract system, guaranteeing a decentralized way of voting.

According to a report, the voting took place in more than 45 constituencies in the City of Saratov. It involved around 110 polling booths equipped with blockchain supported systems where citizens entered their votes. Additionally, citizens had the possibility to cast their votes on their mobile phones. In general, the entirety of the voting process and results took approximately 7 hours with an estimated voter turnout of 36 %.

Victoria Belikova, chairman of Saratov’s youth elections commission claimed that in a related survey, voters were asked if they would prefer blockchain-powered elections in the future rather than the conventional technique, a majority of 83% answered “yes”.

additionally, Kaspersky is said to have interacted with various “politicians and political organizations in Europe” about the possibility of using Polys. Furthermore, the organization has also argued that many nations are “technologically and mentally ready” for internet-powered voting reform.

Nevertheless, the firm has stated it will refrain from pushing Polys in the United States. According to the independent magazine Vice, a company representant stated, “I am a realist and I don’t want to pour salt into an open wound”, most likely referencing the reports of Russian intrusion in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Several governmental institutions have shown interest in using blockchain technology in the electoral system. South Korea is one of the latest countries to have tested blockchain-powered elections. While many are optimistic about the technology possible impact on our governments, some believe that it will not fix voting security, rather make it worse.

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Henry-Claude Madiba

Renewable energy engineer in training. I am only interested in two things, blockchain technology and contributing to making the world a livable place for the next generations.

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