It is hard to get a grasp on the slow creep forward of the utilization of any new voting technology, especially when technologies are new and when they are unusual. The use of the digital “distributed, decentralized, public ledger” known as blockchain technology has been spreading in many industries. Slowly, experiment by experiment, there have been attempts at testing how blockchain’s unique characteristics can be taken advantage of in the administration of elections. Limited, local initiatives have shown that blockchain have a real role to play. That’s why this interesting read at Fortune by Robert Hackett is suggested reading:
I recently spoke to Nimit Sawhney, CEO and cofounder of Voatz, the blockchain-based, mobile voting software provider, whose technology West Virginia piloted during last year’s general midterm election. Sawhney came up with the idea for the project with his brother when the two competed in—and won—a hackathon at Austin’s SXSW festival in 2014. Since then, Sawhney has formally established a company, based in Boston, to develop the product.
Voatz’s technology is making inroads. Sawhney’s 14-person team recently won over Denver, Colo., as the second testing ground for its voting system. The city is trialling the app in its May 7th municipal election, early voting for which starts—today!
I asked Sawhney why he decided to incorporate a blockchain into his system. He says it’s so that IT administrators within and outside his company can’t manipulate or delete records at will. Voatz uses so-called permissioned ledgers, meaning only authorized parties can operate them.
See the full article at Fortune. Even though the technology may be impressive, regular Democracy Chronicles readers might be sceptical. Using voting machines in any way is questionable in regard to security and can have a negative impact in voter confidence in election outcomes. Paper ballots are just more secure by nature and all computers have vulnerabilities.