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Voatz biometric voting platform complies with U.S. guidelines

Voatz biometric voting platform complies with U.S. guidelines

Pro V&V, an independent federally-certified Voting System Test Laboratory (VSTL), has concluded the Voatz biometric blockchain mobile voting platform is compliant with applicable requirements for U.S. voting systems, after testing the Voatz Remote Accessible Ballot Delivery, Marking and Return (RABDMR) System, the company announced on its blog.

According to the report, the platform “meets the applicable requirements set forth for voting systems in the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) 2015 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), Version 1.1, with clarifications or exceptions noted in Section 4.0 of the final version of Pro V&V Test Report.”

Over five months, Pro V&V analyzed multiple features, including the use of native smartphone accessibility features, language capabilities, accuracy to verify certain voter selections and that the “voter’s encrypted, emailed ballot receipt and jurisdiction’s printed ballot match the voter’s choices.”

“Pro V&V verified various controls and measures to meet the required security standards including: protection of the critical elements of the voting system; establishing and maintaining controls to minimize errors; protection from intentional manipulation, fraud and malicious mischief; identifying fraudulent or erroneous changes to the voting system; and protecting the secrecy in the voting process,” states the report. “During the security evaluation, Pro V&V was able to verify that the Voatz RABDMR utilized a blockchain-based infrastructure from the server throughout the remainder of the process.”

Voatz mobile biometric app has already been successfully used in 67 elections, including in South Dakota, Utah, and Denver.

In 2018, West Virginia Secretary of State’s office partnered with Voatz to enable remote voting for military personnel overseas, and is now encouraging other states to implement online voting for troops deployed overseas, writes AirForceTimes. When it was first introduced, it streamlined the voting process for 144 voters deployed in 31 countries to vote.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner wrote earlier this month that less than 20 percent of active military personnel voted in the 2016 election, likely due to the use of mail, email, or fax, which are not reliable when troops are stationed abroad.

“The less than 20% figure weighs on me heavily,” he wrote. “This is an appalling statistic, and one that should be personally offensive to every American. The current COVID-19 pandemic should serve as the catalyst to leverage technology to correct the disenfranchisement of the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our democracy.”

According to the University of Chicago, mobile voting could be the solution, as it “made service members three to five percentage points more likely to cast a ballot in West Virginia,” explains AirForceTimes. The state now also accepts online voting for individuals with physical disabilities. Users’ identity is confirmed with biometric facial recognition and thumb print verification throughout the process.

In the 2019 municipal election and runoff, Denver made mobile voting available for overseas military members. Users have to register a photo of a government photo ID and a ten-second selfie video for facial recognition to confirm the match. However, Jocelyn Bucaro, the Director of Elections in Denver, said facial recognition did not work for all voters, an error reported to the app developers. Before rolling out state-wide, Bucaro said she would wait for the Federal Elections Assistance Commission to confirm its secure. The organization has not commented on this matter, nor has the Pentagon.

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