The plans of the bill are as follows –
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Department of Elections be requested to study the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results.
Technical assistance shall be provided to the Department of Elections by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Department of Elections for this study, upon request.
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 executive summaries and reports shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports no later than the first day of the next Regular Session of the General Assembly and shall be posted on the General Assembly’s website.
In the United States, Virginia’s state legislature looks to study blockchain to improve elections and voting.
Prefiled on Dec. 27 and scheduled for offering on Jan. 8, a new bill requesting further study into blockchain-based elections has emerged in Virginia’s General Assembly. The bill, House Joint Resolution 23, asks the Department of Elections to determine whether blockchain technology should be considered to secure voter records and election results.
What the bill could mean for Virginia’s elections
The bill’s patron is state delegate and cybersecurity specialist Hala Ayala (D-51). It is currently waiting for committee assignment, and will have a long road ahead of it on its way to potentially becoming law. However, it could change the way a state of over eight million people votes.
Per the bill’s current tenets, the department will also have to determine whether the costs and benefits of using blockchain technology outweigh those of traditional registration and election security measures. The department is also expected to make recommendations on how to implement the technology.
Blockchain voting elsewhere in the U.S.
Neighboring state, West Virginia, was the first state to offer blockchain-based mobile voting in a federal election. In May 2018, West Virginia’s primary completed the first government-run, blockchain-supported vote in United States history.
Since then, the city of Denver, Colorado and Utah County, Utah have both conducted successful mobile voting pilots.
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.