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South Australian government taps blockchain technology for elections

Tue, 26 Feb 2019, 05:37 am UTC

The government of South Australia has contracted blockchain startup Horizon State to conduct a public election using blockchain technology for the inaugural Minister’s Recreational Fishing Advisory Council, Smart Company reported.

Founded in 2017, Horizon State provides a set of surveying and polling tools to capture collective opinions and distill them into actionable insights. It has built a digital platform, which provides a safe online place for sharing information and fostering engagement and collaboration.

Last year, New Zealand’s political party, The Opportunity Party, used Horizon State’s blockchain voting system for its leadership election. The Democratic Party of India also plans to use the voting system from this year, Micky reported.

Speaking to StartupSmart, Horizon State co-founder and chief executive Nimo Naamani said that South Australian government is the company’s largest customer to date, in terms of the number of voters, which is “possibly in the tens of thousands”.

The election is being conducted to elect five people to the new council. Members of the public will use South Australia’s YourSAy platform and their votes will be registered through Horizon State.

“It’s a complex vote, so we have developed some stuff specifically for their requirements,” Naamani added.

He said that blockchain implementation in democratic voting makes sense given the technology’s inherent transparency, accountability, and immutability.

“When a vote is cast, and the vote is there, people can audit and tally the votes themselves,” Naamani explained. “They don’t need to trust the person or the organisation running the vote to do that”. Once a vote is cast it can’t be changed, and so “the vote result can’t be tampered with.”

That said, Naamani stressed that the field and the solutions have to mature and be tested in other scenarios first.

“I wouldn’t right now go and propose that a government or state government use any of the blockchain election systems. We definitely need to do some testing and verification first.”

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