Arizona State Republican Party Convention Used Voatz Blockchain Voting App to Cast Ballots
Voatz, a blockchain-based voting application has officially been used by Arizona State's Republican Party during a virtual convention which saw participation from 1,100 individuals.
The votes were even distributed among delegate users and cast on May 9th. The continuing coronavirus pandemic necessitated this otherwise exciting test-run.
Today we are elated to announce the successful completion of the Arizona State Republican Party's virtual #convention last weekend, where more than 1,100 voters submitted their ballots using Voatz. Way to trailblaze the way for future conventions! @AZGOP https://t.co/5S1awH4bGi
— Voatz (@Voatz) May 14, 2020
Voatz has gained significant popularity for its remote, mobile-based voting solutions and has been actively considered for use by different states within the US.
While blockchain ensures that the casted votes are private and immutable, the use of the technology arose only because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which rendered voting by conventional means impossible.
Nimit Sawhney co-founder and CEO of Voatz commented on another successful use case of their application and said:
“This is a critical moment for our democracy, and we have to ensure that we have safe alternatives to voting in person. We believe deeply in expanding access to voting, and with many voters’ health at risk, we are proud to leverage our experience to support the Arizona Republican Party’s mandate to represent their delegates’ voices.”
Prior to use in the virtual convention in Arizona, Voatz was earlier used in the state of Utah and county Republican convention and it saw a total of 7,000 votes being cast during the mentioned events.
While federal agencies, up until now, have discarded any mass use of remote blockchain voting systems, the ongoing lockdowns and the new “normal” may force them to re-evaluate this position.
On the other hand, a GOP survey of participant voters suggested that 80% of the Utah voters were satisfied with the blockchain voting system, while more than 50% were comfortable in casting their votes using their mobile phones.
Blockchain Voting a Viable Solution to Traditional Time Consuming Process
The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world. But it has also made way for viable alternatives to traditional processes: be it working from home, virtual conferences or video meetings.
Similarly, systems of voting need to be reevaluated, especially in how the age-old process of queuing up at voting centers and waiting for hours can be made more efficient.
A couple of weeks ago, Ohio senators proposed a blockchain voting system as well, which suggests that the government are looking into blockchain technology for voting solutions.
However, the Ohio proposal also highlighted certain shortcomings with these mobile-based voting systems, the biggest being hacking or 51% attacks where if someone gains more than 51% of the system resources they can manipulate the votes.
The same stands true for Voatz app as well, where its use in the 2018 elections for overseas military personnel came under scrutiny due to a hacking attack. A group of researchers at MIT also claimed that the Voatz voting app is not suitable for elections as it has many vulnerabilities which could allow hackers to manipulate the votes.
Despite criticism Jennifer Gardner, West Virginia’s Deputy Press Secretary for the Secretary of State’s Office is planning to use the Voatz app in the 2020 election for overseas military personals.