With the 2020 presidential election less than a few weeks away, encumbered yet again by questions and concerns surrounding ballot security and fraud, revolutionary blockchain voting technology is being piloted in small pockets of the country.
Tuesday marked the first time a vote has ever been cast for a U.S. president in the general election using such an app on a personal mobile phone.
“This is a historic day not only for ballot integrity and election systems but for liberty and the republic itself,” Josh Daniels, a Utah resident said.
His vote went to former “Mighty Ducks” child actor turned cryptocurrency entrepreneur turned 2020 independent candidate Brock Pierce.
“In true pioneer spirit, Utah County is honored to be the first place where a Blockchain vote was cast in a presidential general election,” said Utah County Clerk Amelia Powers Gardner, who implemented the “Voatz” platform as both a security and cost-cutting measure 20 months ago.
“We are proud to lead our state and the nation on this innovative and cutting edge technology.”
Gardner, who has been using the system for five elections, says it is “one of the most cost-effective initiatives” that her office has undertaken since she was elected 20 months ago.
And much of Pierce’s own campaign is centered on the push for technological innovation to solve the plethora of problems nationwide and ensure America retains her spot as the global frontrunner in modernization and advancement across all major industries.
“The problem with the internet is that you can copy anything songs, videos, pictures. Internet technology does not allow for the information to stay in one place only,” Pierce said. “But blockchain is a database at its core, and that database is impervious to any type of duplication, meaning it cannot be tampered with and there can only be one version of it, so when we talk about voting, it is perfectly suited to elections. It ensures the absolute integrity of our elections; it ensures voters can vote with confidence.
The U.S. electoral system, for the most part, in Pierce’s purview, is still trying to use “20th-century solutions for 21st-century problems,” but through blockchain, “everyone can vote from their phone, with no need to go to a voting booth.”
For one, “Voatz,” was most recently used in the 2020 Utah State GOP Convention and enabled voting for almost 4,000 delegates in 40 races, in addition to the Arizona GOP Convention, South Dakota GOP Convention and the Michigan Democratic Party Convention.
The Voatz app, which requires a phone number, photo identification and an authenticating “selfie,” uses both blockchain technology and biometrics to verify the voter’s identity. A secure token is issued via fingerprint activation, and once a vote is submitted, it is printed and fed into a collation machine for tabulation.
“Voatz is a mobile elections platform that allows disenfranchised groups access to voting, including overseas citizens, deployed military and people with disabilities,” a spokesperson for the company said. “It’s the only platform designed to meet the four criteria required for mobile voting: security, identity confirmation, accessibility and audibility.”
It was used as a temporary mobile voting solution to record votes for deployed U.S. military members by West Virginia in 2018, during the 2017 Tufts Community Union Senate Election in Massachusetts as well as to authenticate delegate badges at the 2016 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention.
However, it is one of several blockchain applications cropping up across the U.S. in what many entrepreneurs predict is a pivotal step in ensuring fraud-free and fair elections.