Jul 26 / 2019
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Posted by: Jools Moore

Blockchain-powered mobile voting to be piloted in Utah elections

Utah County is the third US jurisdiction to offer mobile voting

Tusk Philanthropies have announced that Utah County is the latest jurisdiction to implement mobile voting in their upcoming municipal primary election in August. The pilot will offer blockchain-based mobile voting to active-duty military, their eligible dependents and overseas voters using their smartphones. Utah County is the third jurisdiction in the U.S. to partner with Tusk Philanthropies on their national efforts to expand mobile voting.

The pilot is a collaboration between the Utah County Elections Division, Voatz, Tusk Philanthropies and the National Cybersecurity Center. Eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming election by opting in to vote electronically on their smartphones. Voters will fill out an absentee ballot request, complete their identity authentication and verification on the Voatz application, and submit their ballot for the election.

Blockchain powered mobile voting

Voatz’s secure voting application is powered by blockchain technology. Blockchain-based mobile voting solutions can help meet many of the most urgent challenges in election administration by adding security, transparency, and auditability to the system.  Because blockchain is a distributed ledger of transactions, mobile votes become immutable and tamper-proof once recorded. The benefits of blockchain-based voting include: Security and accuracy, elimination of human error, vote anonymity, faster results, increased trust in institutions, audit trails, and transparency.

Mobile voting helps reduce human error, provides faster results and can build trust in institutions. Increasing participation and accessibility in elections can increase civic engagement and voter turnout.

“Utah’s pilot is another sign that the momentum for mobile voting in our country is very real and supports our theory that when you show people a much better way to do something, there becomes a demand for it,” said Bradley Tusk, founder and CEO of Tusk Philanthropies. “As we enter into a Presidential election year, we have to continue to remove as many barriers and hurdles as possible so a lot more people are able to participate in our democracy.”

Tusk Philanthropies recently announced they successfully completed their pilot for Denver’s May 2019 municipal elections and June 2019 run-off. In a post election survey from the Denver Elections Division, 100 percent of respondents said they favoured secure mobile voting over all methods available to them and the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) provided an open audit to the public for the Denver election. Tusk Philanthropies also partnered with West Virginia in 2018 to offer mobile voting in the May and November Primary and General elections, marking the first time a state ever offered blockchain-based mobile voting in a federal election.

Voatz, a mobile elections platform powered by military-grade technology making it safe and easy to vote from anywhere, is the technical provider designing the system. Last year in West Virginia, Voatz launched the first blockchain-based mobile voting solution involved in a federal election. To date, Voatz has conducted 40 successful pilots that include federal, state, and local elections. In its largest election, more than 15,000 votes were cast.

“Election officials in Utah County and across the country are recognizing that current absentee voting methods are not sufficient,” said Nimit Sawhney, CEO and co-founder of Voatz. “Members of the military who are stationed overseas or young people serving missions around the world should be able to take advantage of the latest advances in smartphone hardware, encryption and blockchain technology to cast their ballot. We are delighted that voters in Denver, West Virginia and now Utah County have had an opportunity to evaluate the security and ease of voting from a mobile device.”

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