Blockchain remote voting tools considered by US Congress

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Biz Blocks by Michael Bacina, Partner Piper Alderman Lawyers | May 22/2020

A US Senate Staff Memo has revealed that the US Congress is considering the adoption of a remote participation and voting system.

The Memo prepared by the Subcommittee Staff members stated that:

“In 1918, Congress did not have the technology available that would allow it to consider remote participation and voting. In 2020, that technology exists and should be considered as a means to protect members while allowing them to fulfill their constitutional duties to represent their constituents and legislate.”

The Memo contained recommendations that, if remote voting was adopted, it should consider blockchain remote voting tools, end-to-end encrypted application remove voting tools, and joint worldwide intelligence communication system voting tools.

The Memo stated in relation to the benefits of blockchain for voting is that:

“With its encrypted distributed ledger, blockchain can both transmit a vote securely and also verify the correct vote. Some have argued that these attributes make blockchain useful for electronic voting broadly. Blockchain can provide a secure and transparent environment for transactions and a tamper-free electronic record of all the votes.”

This follows ASIC taking a ‘no action’ position on hybrid, virtual and deferred AGMs in Australia following COVID-19 and international bodies such as India’s Election Commission and the Virginia Legislature looking into online voting technology.

We expect a significant growth in the development and demand for virtual voting systems in the future during and beyond COVID-19. Australia’s own Horizon State was an early leader in Blockchain-based voting, having completed a South Australian Government Fisheries election last year successfully.