Voatz, the keiretsu company of Medici Ventures will initial a pilot program of the Voatz platform. The Utah County pilot will allow for voters to utilize the Voatz mobile application to participate in the upcoming municipal election in the next month.
The pilot will be available to a select group of people. Utah County aims to test out the blockchain based program with eligible voters who are serving overseas.
The Voatz Mission and How Voatz Works
Voatz aims to make “voting safer and more accessible”.
How does Voatz plan on realizing their mission?
By using smartphones and blockchain technology.
The idea is to turn mobile devices into a “safe and secure voting booth”.
The Voatz Process
The Voatz process starts with the election organizer participating in the program and then having voters utilize the Voatz application. The voter will create an account with their name and email address and other details and upload their official photo identification. Lastly, the individual voter will have to provide a retinal scan or fingerprint to complete the process.
The retinal scan or fingerprint is a crucial part of the process as it allows Voatz and election organizers conduct verification and minimize election tampering while providing added convenience to the end user.
Why is Voatz Important?
If Voatz can guarantee the technology with zero election tampering, then it may provide Amazon level convenience for voters. It would allow voters to place their votes on-the-go, in the comfort of their own home, or wherever they may be. This is one reason, Tusk Philanthropies is taking part in the Utah Country trial program, the organization aims to minimize the problem of low voter turnout.
While this is certainly not the first time Voatz has partnered with governmental bodies to improve the elections process, every additional step counts and proves the use case of the blockchain.
Voatz Has Endured Controversy
While Voatz aims to make voting “ safer and more accessible” it isn’t without its detractors and critics. A recent Techcrunch article took a stab at the Voatz approach, stating the Voatz is “approaching the wrong problem in the wrong way from the start”.
Important points in the TechCrunch article noted that that there may not have substantial difference between a regular database and the Voatz blockchain due to how it was configured.
Lastly, detractors of the company may think that disruption in this area is not needed, as software enters into a space that may better served with slow processes and tried and true methods.
Cybersecurity experts have a variety of concerns when integrating technology into a field as important as voting as it greater stakes are at play. In 2014, software and security experts expressed concerns with the safety and security of the online voter systems in Estonia, a country that pioneered e-voting. They noted the possibility of tampering with the elections in various ways.
It would be interesting to test out the military grade security of the system by conducting a sort of bug bounty on a mock election run to see if it may withstand potential attacks.
Is Voatz Inevitable ?
Software is eating the world and is likely to become more relevant in general elections going forward. Voatz or another variation of the platform is likely to be more prevalent in the future.