Virginia’s General Assembly To Discuss Blockchain-Based Voting, Could Become Law in Two Years

The State of Virginia might adopt a blockchain based voting system within the next two years if a bill that was recently pre-filed is passed. This newly proposed bill seeks to determine the use case of blockchain in voter record security and cost efficiency in Virginia’s elections.

Hala S. Ayala, a cybersecurity expert and the ‘House Joint Resolution 23’ bill sponsor, is set to make its offering to the General Assembly on January, 8. Ayala, also a Virginia lawmaker, has requested the Dept of Education conduct intensive research on blockchain through the proposed bill.

Implications of the Proposed ‘Blockchain’ Bill in Virginia

Virginia voters might be able to experience the efficiency of digital ledgers in voting sooner than most people in the world. This will however depend on how fast the research and findings will be implemented. The bill states,

“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 study will be divided into three parts for a fitness review compared to the existing voting system in Virginia. The bill describes these as,

“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.”

Blockchain Voting States in the U.S

Besides Virginia, other states have considered implementing blockchain technology for ,voting with some having gone to the extent of implementation. The state of West Virginia, a neighbor to Virginia, is a pioneer in integrating a blockchain based ecosystem for voting, this was during its federal election back in 2018. Other states that have carried out a successful voting pilots via mobile based tech include Utah and Denver.

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