As the midterm elections have come and gone, voter fraud and suppression has continued to be an issue and hot topic item for Florida, Arizona, and Georgia. Claims and lawsuits are being dealt with in these crucial states as officials attempt to sort out the chaos. However, a preliminary test with mobile election system Voatz is trying to find a solution to these problems before they arise.
Voatz is looking to introduce blockchain technology into the voting process. Common misconceptions tends to tie blockchain and cryptocurrency together into one entity. As blockchain is simply the technology that allows cryptocurrency to live, it has many other practical uses. However, cryptocurrency as been seeing trouble transitioning over into the mainstream lately, unable to work on essential, everyday expenses like groceries, vacations, or home improvement loans.
What is Voatz?
Voatz is mobile system that provides secure voting abilities to military personnel overseas. It is a Boston startup that can only be accessed by invitation from your area’s election organizer. CEO and co-founder of Voatz, Nimit Sawhney, detailed the workings of their service at a cybersecurity conference this past June.
“It’s a new way to vote…you don’t have to go through a paper absentee ballot, to mail it. You can do it over your phone. It’s quick, easy, way more secure and you don’t have to give up your right to privacy because when you mail in, fax or email, you have to sign a waiver that someone could find out how you voted, which is bad because the rest of us vote in person,” Sawhney said. “We don’t have to give up that right. Why should they?”
How does it work?
The app allows users to make an account on their smart devices through an email and phone number. They must take a photo of their ID accompanied by a photo of themselves. They then give a fingerprint or retinal scan in order to confirm their identity. Only after this process can the individual vote.
According to Wvnews.com, “The system features biometric/facial recognition technology to allow for fast voting while retaining user anonymity. Voatz also incorporates Blockchain, which is distributed ledger technology used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered after the fact. Secretary of State deputy legal counsel and elections officer Donald Kersey said this means votes on Voatz become immutable and tamper proof, with records virtually impossible to crack.”
How did the trail turn out this mid-term election period?
Forbes reports that “the mobile voting project was implemented by the Secretary of State of West Virginia, Voatz and funded by a philanthropic arm of Tusk Holdings with the goal of making voting more accessible and more secure for the disenfranchised overseas voting population. Over the 45-day absentee voting period, 144 ballots were cast by active UOCAVA voters spanning 30 countries and the United States.”
In a panel discussing the role of this new technology on the election, CEO of Factom Paul Snow said that, “blockchains hold the promise of creating validate-able information and proving information did, in fact, come from intended sources. The blockchain can confirm information to crack down on inaccurate or false reports and create responsibility for providing correct information,” said Snow. “This would be a massive reform in politics, society, business, and government, and not through regulation — the reform is solely through math.”