Recording observations

Russian observers test election monitoring app

29/11/2018

Ethereum-based software will become publicly available early next year

National Public Monitoring (NOM), a Russian independent association of public observers, has been testing a monitoring tool for voting based on blockchain technology. The software will be made publicly available on GitHub under a GPL licence at the beginning of 2019. "The blockchain is used to verify evidence submitted by observers, and to record it without the possibility of further corrections and frauds."

"This involves a native application aimed at informing monitoring organisations' headquarters and the public on violations found before and during voting," explains Roman Kolomystev, the federal coordinator of NOM. "With the app, every observer and any ordinary citizen can submit information on violations. Moreover, observers can provide evidence on voter turnout as well as ballot counts."

30,000 observers

The software was tested at the inaugural All-Russian Congress of Public Observers organised last August in Moscow. The congress is an initiative of NOM, the Russian Fund for Free Elections and the Association of Lawyers of Russia. Partners from civil society were the Corps For Clean Elections, Russia Chooses, the People's Observer, and Group 32. All in all, about 300 people from all over Russia were present.

The main theme of the congress was the use of digital technologies in elections. That context was used to test the monitoring tool and to prepare 30,000 observers for the next national election.

Universal

The software has been built using PHP, Nginx and the Ethereum blockchain. According to Kolomystev, the application is universal: it can be used in any country and adapted to any legal system.

"In our opinion, it's impossible for a proprietary software application to contribute to the credibility of the monitoring and voting results to the full extend."

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