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Virginia lawmaker calls for study into blockchain-backed state elections

Mike McSweeney

A lawmaker in Virginia has submitted a resolution that calls on the state government to study the use of blockchain in elections.

The bill, pre-filed just before the end of the year by State Delegate Hala S. Ayala, calls for the state's Department of Education to "study the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results."

As it further explains:

"In conducting its study, the Department of Elections shall (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."

The bill, if passed, would further request that the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which serves as the state's primary IT office, provide assistance during the study.

"The Department of Elections shall complete its meetings for the first year by November 30, 2020, and for the second year by November 30, 2021, and the Department of Elections shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an executive summary and report of its findings and recommendations for publication as a House or Senate document for each year," the bill further states.

Similar legislative efforts have emerged in the past, including a proposed bill in New York back in 2017

A small group of people took part in a blockchain-based voting pilot in West Virginia during the 2018 U.S. Congressional election, though an unsuccessful attack on the platform reportedly triggered an inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.