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Russians in Yaroslavl, Kursk to Use Blockchain Voting in 2021 Election

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Citizens in two more Russian regions are set to be granted the right to cast their votes on a blockchain-powered platform when the country goes to the polls in parliamentary elections next year.

Source: Adobe/tinyakov

Per media outlet Open Media, the Central Election Commission of Russia (CEC) has stated that residents of the Kursk and Yaroslavl oblasts will be able to make use of the platform – which made its debut earlier this year.

As previously reported, 1.14 million Russians used the platform to cast their votes in a recent referendum on constitutional reform in the capital Moscow, as well as the city of Nizhniy Novgorod. An earlier citizens’ vote on parking-related issues in Moscow also made use of the same platform.

A number of issues have been reported with the platform, however. The system crashed just after launch, initially unable to deal with the volume of traffic on the network. A voter managed to “spoil” their ballot and send a coded message on the network. And a media outlet reported that passport data on all 1.14 million voters was inadvertently made publically available on a state server.

Regardless, the CEC has called blockchain voting a success, and said that it intends to make improvements to the system ahead of a potential nationwide rollout.

The Kursk Oblast comprises the city of Kursk, as well as the surrounding area, and has some 1.12 million residents. The Yaroslavl Oblast, meanwhile, has around 1.27 million residents.

The CEC said that demand is already high for blockchain voting in both regions, with up to 60% of residents already eligible. To register, citizens will need to create accounts at local government-run websites.

The CEC added that it will look to address potential voting irregularities by ensuring that citizens who have registered to use the blockchain platform are not allowed to change their minds and instead decide to cast their votes at a polling station.