Active military and overseas voters to vote in Denver elections with biometric Voatz app
The City of Denver will pilot mobile voting through the blockchain- and biometrics-based Voatz app for its municipal election in May, TechCrunch reports. Active-duty military, their eligible dependents, and overseas personnel are eligible to use the smartphone voting technology on a voluntary basis.
Voatz says it has conducted more than 30 successful pilots already, including two in West Virginia. The first of those was open only to residents of two counties, but for the November mid-terms the pilot was expanded to 24 of 55 state counties, with approximately 150 ballots cast using the app. Voters are authenticated facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics, and blockchain technology protects votes from being manipulated after they are cast.
The Denver pilot, like those in West Virginia, is backed by Tusk Philanthropies, which is operated by investor Bradley Tusk. Tusk brought in outside examiners, including former FBI cybersecurity agent Andre McGregor, who now works for a blockchain company, and found Voatz effective, according to TechCrunch. A spokesperson for Tusk Philanthropies says Colorado has considered developing an open-source platform for mobile voting. The city of Denver says there are 4,000 voters eligible to use Voatz in the election.
The idea of voting through a smartphone has previously been criticized as insecure and vulnerable to manipulation by some experts. The pilot will be audited by Voatz, the city, and Tusk Philanthropies in cooperation with cybersecurity firm ShiftState.