Utah county moves to expand mobile voting through blockchain
Disabled voters in Utah County will be able to use their smartphones to vote in the November municipal election, an expansion of an earlier pilot test of the blockchain-based technology and anothert step toward allowing all voters to cast ballots with a mobile device.
The county, which has more than a half million residents, is the third in the U.S. to partner with Tusk Philanthropies, a non-profit focused on expanding mobile voting nationally. The latest pilot is a collaboration between the Utah County Elections Division, Tusk Philanthropies, the National Cybersecurity Center and Boston-based voting app developer Voatz.
“I think it’s a great expansion on the mobile voting project,” Michela Menting, a director with ABI Research, said via email. “I think there is certainly potential to extend such technology to the general public, but it is always contingent on succeeding in smaller focus groups first, and especially those which may often find it more difficult to vote – due to location or disability as in this example.”
Utah County chose to expand the use of mobile voting after the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) recently completed an audit of an August municipal primary election pilot that used the mobile voting app; the audit found that the results were accurate. Disabled voters will be able to use the app in upcoming municipal elections.
“I made the decision to utilize it for our disabled community after that,” said Amelia Gardner, Utah County Clerk and Auditor. “It was used twice in West Virginia for overseas voters, twice in Denver for overseas voters; so, in addition to my use of it in the municipal primary, that gave us five solid examples of clean audits coming back showing the votes were true.”
Utah County, which has 265,000 active registered voters, used the mobile voting app in a municipal election earlier this year for absentee military service members and their families living overseas. Only 45 voters took advantage of it, but the pilot went smoothly. This time around,…