Ukraine’s Electoral Commission have revealed that they are testing a voting scheme which uses the NEM blockchain to combat electoral fraud.
The reveal was made yesterday (August 7th) in a Facebook post from Oleksandr Stelmakh, head of the State Register with the Electoral Commission of Ukraine. In the post, he explains how the project works and why voting is an ideal use case for the NEM blockchain, citing the impossibility of changing information once logged.
“One of the basic useful properties of the blockchain is the impossibility of making changes to the saved information … Blockchain NEM allows you to create its own assets (Mozaíki), as well as [this], the log structure contains a message box that allows you to attach a message to the size of the 1 KB”
It is in this message box that voters would input their chosen candidate in an election. The tests are ongoing, and a test vote has been created using 28 nodes in the NEM blockchain. Stelmakh notes that “voting is still open and anyone can take part in it.”
This trial has occurred through a partnership with NEM Ukraine and is being conducted exclusively with NEM test tokens, which have been donated by Anton Bosenko, a representative of the NEM Foundation in Ukraine.
Stelmakh concludes his post by stating that under current rates, the cost of installing blockchain-based voting in each police station across the country would cost around 1,227 USD per location. In his words, he says this would be a “small price to pay” for voting security and fraud protection.
Ukraine has long suffered from corruption at its top tier of policy makers and politicians. Such corruption is ultimately what led to the protests on the Maidan Square in Kiev in 2014 which in turn contributed to the Russian invasion of the country’s Eastern territories in the same year. Voter fraud has been a problem in elections before and voter confidence in the country is low. This project and blockchain technology in Ukrainian elections therefore has the potential to reduce disenfranchisement hugely and reinforce confidence in the country’s political elite amongst the electorate. However the country may already be converted; the country is currently finalising its regulatory framework for cryptocurrency in the country and there are even plans to build a statue of Satoshi Nakamoto in Kiev. This was floated two months ago, and shows perhaps that Ukrainians may recognise more clearly than most, how transformative blockchain could be.
Image Source: “Flickr”