Australia’s government-owned postal service will run tests to use blockchain technology for state elections, it has revealed.

Voting is an “ideal use case” for blockchain technology to be used beyond cryptocurrencies, said Tim Adamson, Australia Post’s State Director for Victorian Government and Tasmania in a submission to the Victorian Parliament’s inquiry into electronic voting.

“A successful blockchain solution would allow for location agnostic participation (vote anywhere), would be tamper proof and would enable real time audit of results,“ he said.

Voters would be given “credits” which will be used to indicate their preferred candidates. The ballot would be cryptographically secured in the blockchain, anonymising the vote and protecting it from being publically accessible, Adamson said.

The system would automatically compile the votes in the database when the election closes. “Votes will be verifiable by candidates and voters”, he said. The ballot’s secrecy would be maintained with encryption keys and digital signatures in the system.

As part of the e-voting plan, Australia Post is building a digital identity system that could be used to access both public and private sector services. “We are pursuing an open digital identity ecosystem for Australia that puts individuals in control of their identity and personal information,” Adamson said.

It is also building an e-voting app that will allow people to vote anonymously, and ensure only one vote per person by linking to the digital identity platform.

The Post will initially start with pilots at corporate, civic and community level elections. It will first target universities, it said, to “gain insights into the behaviours of voters and the early demands of a digital solution”. It will then develop a system at a parliamentary scale.

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