Utah County to pilot blockchain-based mobile voting

Utah County to pilot blockchain-based mobile voting

Utah County is the latest government entity to pilot a mobile voting application based on blockchain to allow military absentee voters and their family members living overseas to vote in an upcoming municipal primary election.

The county, which has more than a half million residents, is the third in the U.S. to partner with Tusk Philanthropies on a national effort to expand mobile voting. The pilot is a collaboration between the Utah County Elections Division, Tusk Philanthropies, the National Cybersecurity Center and Boston-based voting app developer Voatz.

Eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming election by opting in to vote electronically on their smartphones. Those using the mobile voting platform will fill out an absentee ballot request, complete their identity authentication and verification on the Voatz application, and submit their ballot for the election. Voting began June 28  and continues through 8 p.m. on Election Day, Aug. 13.

About 45 voters have been invited and “a handful” have already voted using the mobile app, according to Voatz CEO Nimit Sawhney.

For federal and local elections, the Voatz blockchain-based mobile voting platform is only offered to active-duty military, their eligible dependents and other overseas voters using their smartphones. To date, the Voatz platform has been used in four public election pilots (and 40 elections overall): the 2018 West Virginia Primary Elections; the 2018 West Virginia Midterm Elections; the 2019 City/County of Denver Municipal General Elections; and the 2019 City/County of Denver Municipal Runoff Elections.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner estimated that 144 West Virginia absentee voters living in 30 different countries cast ballots in the 2018 Midterm Elections using  Voatz’s app on approved mobile devices; the app records the ballots anonymously using blockchain. While Warner lauded the blockchain-secured app for enabling military and their dependents to vote, his deputy chief of staff, Mike Queen, said the state has no plans to expand the use of the Voatz mobile app.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.


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