The city of Denver is planning to use a blockchain system to record and monitor votes during its municipal elections in May.
On Thursday, Denver revealed that it would launch a pilot program to enable overseas voters, deployed military staff and their eligible dependents to vote via a blockchain-powered mobile app in partnership with Voatz and Tusk Philanthropies.
Voatz’s technology had been utilized in West Virginia, where active-duty military staff leveraged the software in its 2018 primary and general elections.
The Overstock-backed startup has already conducted over 30 pilots, with more than 15,000 votes cast in its biggest election so far.
Deputy Director of Elections at Denver Clerk and Recorder, Jocelyn Bucaro, stated that the Denver Elections Division is known for making voting a more transparent and convenient process for people using technology.
“Participating in this pilot program fits perfectly into our mission,” she noted, adding: “We believe this technology has the potential to make voting easier and more secure not only for our active duty military and overseas citizens, but also for voters with disabilities, who could potentially vote independently and privately using their phones’ assistive technology.”
To join, eligible voters should submit an absentee ballot request and complete an authentication process via the Voatz smartphone app. If approved, they can submit their ballot from March 23 to May 7.
Leveraging the app eliminates the need to print and scan the necessary paperwork if they file normal absentee ballots. Voters can also check if their ballot was recorded, a feature often unavailable in traditional absentee ballots.
The National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) CEO Vance Brown said they are “excited to partner with the City/County of Denver, Voatz and Tusk Philanthropies.”
“This public/private partnership showcases how promoting innovative technologies, such as blockchain-based mobile voting, protects against cyber-attacks that negatively impact our world,” he stated. “The application of blockchain in our election system provides for secure, auditable, transparent and accurate counting of ballots and the increased integrity of our election system.”