Moscow is to test a new e-voting system built on the blockchain is an attempt to overhaul the outdated paper system Russia currently employs.
Last year, Moscow government officials said that they were exploring the use of the distributed ledger in various use cases, including voter fraud, as reported by Gazeta.ru. One of the proposals was for the inclusion of the blockchain into the Active Citizen project, an e-government initiative aimed at getting citizens involved with decision-making.
Now, though, in an announcement released yesterday, officials have created a pilot test for tracking citizens votes via the distributed ledger. The statement reads:
The introduction of this technology will make the voting in the project Active Citizen even more open: it will be difficult to say that the administration incorrectly interprets the answers, changes the results of the voting when the citizens themselves can verify this information.
In addition, Moscow officials have made the pilot source code available on GitHub, the largest known software collaboration platform in the world. The statement adds that if the pilot is successful, then it can be replicated to other projects in Russia.
According to government officials in Moscow, it would be the first city in the world to introduce the blockchain technology on a large scale in e-voting. This is despite the fact that Estonia has already trialled the distributed ledger for e-voting services.
Prior to this solution, citizens were only able to receive election results through the Active Citizen website. Now, however, they will have the opportunity to count the votes and ensure that the information is authentic and correct. Not only that, but the use of the blockchain ensures that no vote can be tampered with once it has been registered, thereby increasing the trust between the citizen and the government.
Artem Ermolaev, Moscow’s CIO, said:
We are excited to improve credibility and transparency of [the] e-voting system in Moscow by introducing blockchain. We believe that blockchain will increase trust between the citizens and the government. We aim to hit two million users in the near future who are ready to influence the city life.
Featured image from Flickr via Martin Durco.