Voter IDs are a contentious issue In the United States. Republicans say that they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats worry that they will be used to suppress voters with lower incomes.

Andrew Hemingway, a Republican, is running for Governor of New Hampshire and has a novel solution that could sooth the fears that both parties have: using a blockchain to enable an anonymous and simple solution that is more secure than what is currently being used.

- Andrew Hemingway

Democratization via the blockchain is already being used to reach a consensus. And the idea of using a distributed consensus system like the Bitcoin blockchain for political voting has been around for a relatively long time (in Bitcoin terms) but this is the first time a public political figure has come out in favor of the idea.

The answer was the second question asked by former TV 'reality' show Ghosthunter researcher Kris Williams to the candidate on Twitter. She asked him what his stance is on Voter ID laws; he responded that utilizing the Blockchain could be “an innovative approach.”

Hemingway took four tweets to respond, but the second and third Tweets included the relevant Blockchain solution.

2) @KrisWilliams81 we could apply the #bitcoin block chain algorithm to help solve this problem. Use the principle of distributed consensus

— Andrew Hemingway (@AndrewHemingway) July 10, 2014

3) @KrisWilliams81 simply having a real time database that would check off when voted. And would in real time run against other states data

— Andrew Hemingway (@AndrewHemingway) July 10, 2014

Hemingway later went on to say that he supports allowing taxes to be paid in Bitcoin and asked the internet what they think of the idea.

This news comes after a Congressional candidate for Washington State let it be known that he is an avid Bitcoin enthusiast and miner.

Community commentary

Will Pangman: "I think we will have to wait for the next gen (bitcoin 2.0) protocols to hit the ground, such as Mastercoin, Ethereum, etc. I know there is a bitcoin startup, called snapCard ( that will, as a proxy, pay US citizens’ tax bills for Bitcoin. So, in a way, Bitcoins for taxes is happening already. However, I do not see the US govt allowing tax payments via Bitcoins directly any time soon. Legal tender laws in the US are so entrenched and bulky that giving Bitcoin such recognition on the state level would not only be a huge task, but also one that undermines the whole Federal Reserve central banking system at the structural level."

I think we'll see the dissolution of the Federal Reserve before we'll see Bitcoins recognized as legal tender in the US, and the dissolution of the Fed in the foreseeable future is highly unlikely (as much as we might wish otherwise. Next generation block chains (Ethereum, et al.) are much more likely to bring us the ubiquity of this kind of technology than are any "legitimizing" steps taken by central authorities."

Rik Willard: "In any event, blockchain voting is predicated on the further development of smart contracts. Combined with the anti-double spend feature of Bitcoin could indeed be the answer to secure voting and voter fraud elimination. However, like any voting technology, as a government function it will be controlled by humans - which makes it suspect. So, any blockchain application for voting would have to be super-transparent and meticulously guarded against malicious code. This begs the question whether miners or even approved miners can be trusted with this aspect of it, or is it supervised by local or even the federal government. Even then, we've seen local governments tamper with voting results (not much but it happens). So the short answer is yes, technologically it is possible... but we have a lot of questions to answer before it can be deployed in a secure manner. My guess is at least ten years  - with microtesting in the interim - before it gains any real traction."

Paul Snow: "We are already seeing different candidates embrase Bitcoin, so I think the growth of Bitcoin in politics will continue to excelerate. What may be even more interesting is the uses of the Blockchain to provide proof of process in politics. One can imagine campaign financies that allow real time audits by the public, not just the infrequent disclosures to the government that we have today. Andrew makes the case for voting, and this is also a very strong point. Voting, campaign finances, banking, stock exchanges and more have long been difficult to audit at all, and the audits that result require trust of the auditors, an exclusive group of people.

Block chain technologies can bring a transparency to operations that we have never, ever seen before.  And I applaud Andrew for seeing and promoting these reforms."


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