Blockchain-based voting in Virginia could be about to go mainstream after a Virginia state delegate asked the state government to investigate the use of blockchain technology in elections. Hala S. Ayala, delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates, asked the house to discuss the potential for blockchain voting mechanisms to be deployed in the state, following successful trials in recent years.
Ayala Puts Faith in Blockchain
Ayala, who worked as a cybersecurity specialist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, proposed the resolution requesting the Department of Elections to “study the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results”. In the resolution, Ayala explains that the mission of the Department of Elections is to “promote and support accurate, fair, open, and secure elections for the citizens of the Commonwealth”, which Ayala clearly thinks can be improved by the use of blockchain technology:
…blockchain technology has the potential to have a profound impact in any area that requires recorded transactions, such as government recordkeeping, voting, chain of custody, and vote counting…
Ayala calls on the house to conduct a study into the efficacy of blockchain technology in elections, in particular to:
…(i) determine the kinds of blockchain technology that could be used to secure voter records and election results, (ii) determine the costs and benefits of using such technology as compared to traditional registration and election security measures, and (iii) make recommendations on whether and how to implement blockchain technology in practices affecting the security of voter records and election results.
Voatz for Virginia?
Virginia has already dabbled with blockchain voting, following a trial in September 2018 and an announcement in April last year that citizens on active military duty or living overseas at the time of the presidential elections this year will be able to vote with Voatz, the blockchain-based voting app already used in Oregon and Utah. The department is expected to complete the study and all meetings associated with it by the end of 2021, followed by a full report, which will dictate further actions.