Lawmakers in Ohio Propose Blockchain Voting System For Overseas Military Personnel

Democratic lawmakers have proposed a new bill in the Ohio House of Representatives.

The Buckeye state's Ohio House Bill 560 is motioning for the introduction of a blockchain-based voting system to help military personal stationed overseas, cast their votes for the 2020 election year.

The Democrats’ elections law overhaul bill was proposed in the house this last Tuesday. Presented by Michele Lepore-Hagan and Beth Liston both Democratic representatives and supported by sixteen other Democrats in the house, the bill has gained some considerable traction.

The proposed bill was well-detailed and discussed the process of using the blockchain-based voting system to ensure privacy and security of votes cast remotely.

Overseas military personnel would transmit their ballot in the form of encrypted files on a blockchain network which would ensure the ballot’s security and privacy. The ballots would be counted and printed by the board of elections receiving party.

The bill also calls for Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, to establish a pilot program, and select the boards of election who would also take part in the pilot blockchain voting program.

Possible Vendors For Developing the Voting Infrastructure

The bill does not propose any particular name for the vendor that would develop this blockchain voting system, however. There are multiple vendors in Ohio as well as outside of the state that is well versed in developing blockchain voting infrastructure.

“The pilot program shall use encrypted blockchain technology to transmit ballots in a manner that protects the security and integrity of the process and protects the voter's privacy.”

Some of the well-known firms include the Cleveland-based Votem, Voatz, one that has already been used by Utah and West Virginia for a similar voting need for military personals stationed outside of their state.

While the blockchain voting system appears to be a good approach for remote voting, it has its fair share of security vulnerabilities as well.

The first comes from the fact that these voting systems would be internet-based. And security experts believe that it's almost impossible to make them fully secure. The Voatz app, for example, was found to have several security flaws when audited by a security research team.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science penned a letter to the election officials on April 9th, highlighting security vulnerabilities with these blockchain-based voting systems, which read as follows:

“Internet voting should not be used in the future until and unless very robust guarantees of security and verifiability are developed and in place, as no known technology guarantees the secrecy, security, and verifiability of a marked ballot transmitted over the Internet,”

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