Category Archives: World

In light of a recent article focused on Voatz, we wanted to share our perspective and address some of the incorrect claims made about the 2018 West Virginia pilot. While the questions raised are not unique for a startup company like ours operating in this space, we want to make it very clear that there was nothing in the voting process or the post-election audit process that was a concern. The article failed to accurately portray the added protections that the mobile blockchain infrastructure provides, or the fact that this pilot was a significant improvement to the current voting methods (fax, email, postal mail) offered to UOCAVA voters. Delays in […]

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XI’AN, CHINA — Michael Graney lives in Xi’an, a large city smack dab in the middle of Shaanxi, China. With bustling streets, air thick with pollution and mountains just visible through the haze, Xi’an is one of China’s oldest cities, an important cultural, industrial and educational epicenter. Michael is in his third year as a graduate student, here, studying Chinese sociology and culture. He lives in a small studio with wooden floors, wallpapered walls, sporadic electricity and a humble, all-in-one bathroom with a laundry machine. He spends most days on the move teaching, writing his thesis, or engaging with his community — air pollution permitting. ^Michael at a farm in […]

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VICENZA, ITALY — Scott Warner stares out the window, 1,200 feet above the ground, loud jet engines whirring in the background and wide expanse of earth stretching out along the distant, hazy horizon. Like a cavity in the bottom of a canyon, trees, specs of cattle, grasslands and hills pass by, peacefully threaded together by roads and waterways, woven together into the quiet makeup of a quilted landscape. Warner yells to his comrades and, in the midst of the commotion, catches a moment — here they are, all of them, floating above the surface and hovering, miraculously, in these moments between space and time. “WOOSH!” Suddenly the door opens and […]

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DENVER, CO — Two weeks ago, the City of Denver closed the polls for its Municipal elections. For the first time, it ran a pilot program with Voatz to allow overseas citizens, military personnel and their dependents to vote from their mobile devices. Military voters and citizens around the world were able to download the Voatz app, use their mobile devices to verify their identity, securely and anonymously cast their votes, and verify that their vote was counted correctly.   What is an audit? A post-election audit is a process to ensure that the equipment and procedures used to count votes during an election worked properly, and that the election […]

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ABUJA, NIGERIA — A new mobile application developed by Voatz was used by 16 female candidates during the Nigerian 2019 General Elections earlier this year. The application, called Women Influencing Nations, or WiN, is designed as a politically-oriented social media platform to help women candidates run for office. Using WiN, candidates are able to garner followers, share events and create posts, and even collect political donations via mobile money. The Voatz team traveled to Nigeria during the January campaign season to assist in the roll out of WiN. In partnership with UN Women, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and Mina’s List, Voatz helped lead a two-day training […]

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GUINEA, WEST AFRICA — Tucked away in a tiny village in the far corner of Guinea, Amiti Maloy lives in a one-room, roundly earthen hut with a thatched roof, no electricity, no running water and a semi-functional solar panel to charge her phone. Most days, it takes a village — literally — to charge her phone, dropping it by the local “charging station”, or a wooden outdoor stall where two young men run a generator to charge a majority of the village’s cell phones. Amiti is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea. She spends most days teaching, leading hands-on educational camps and coaching soccer to a spirited squad of middle […]

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Buzz has been building in various corners of the United States around the concept of “Ranked Choice Voting”. What is it? How does it work? And how is it different from the current system where you vote for your favorite candidate, hope they win, and prepare for your supposed “worst”? At Voatz, we’re fascinated by varying methods for voting and mostly, working to ensure that the systems used to implement them are user-friendly, accessible and accurate when it comes to tabulating the mathematical calculations.   What is Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)? To you, the voter, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a relatively simple change to the way you vote. In […]

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When West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner took office in 2017, he instructed his staff to explore ways to make voting more convenient for military personnel, their families and civilians stationed or working abroad (UOCAVA voters). As an officer in the army, Secretary Warner experienced firsthand how difficult it is for soldiers and civilians abroad to vote and return a ballot in time to be counted. The statistics confirm the case: in 2016, the estimated voting participation rate for U.S. citizens living overseas was 6.9% compared to the 72% participation rate for citizens living in the United States. In early 2018, Secretary Warner launched the nation’s first mobile voting […]

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Last week, representatives from our team attended the 9th Annual Meeting of Election Management Bodies, a gathering hosted by the International Center for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS). The conference was held in Batumi, Georgia, and focused on the theme “Electoral Integrity: Cybersecurity and the Reliability of Information in the Digital Era”. These gatherings draw together election experts, analysts, representatives from election management bodies and research centers to discuss the challenges and complexities facing elections. During the conference, Jesse Andrews, Director of Business Development, led a conversation that explored elections and elections security in our modern era. The talk dissected the components surrounding election security: election setup, ensuring physical safety to the […]

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We are delighted to announce the launch of a new pilot program today with the City of Denver that will provide mobile voting secured by the blockchain to deployed military personnel and overseas United States citizens during the city’s municipal elections this spring. We commend the City of Denver for seeking new, innovative technologies to improve our election infrastructure and provide secure, auditable, transparent voting options for voters. With this pilot program, Denver is leading the effort to make voting more convenient and accessible for deployed military personnel and overseas US citizens. The latest developments in smartphone hardware, encryption and blockchain technology make mobile voting a reality. This is a […]

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While Virginians turned out in record numbers for the midterm election last year, more can be done to help the most disenfranchised voting demographic in the country: overseas citizens, military personnel and their family members stationed overseas. Delegates Larry Rush (R) and R. Steven Landes (R), and Sens. Bill DeSteph (R) and Mason Montgomery (D), should be commended for recently introducing bipartisan legislation in the General Assembly that would create pilot programs or have the State Board of Elections study how electronic forms of voting can help Virginia’s deployed military members, overseas citizens and their families more easily exercise their right to vote. Virginia has the third highest number of […]

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On February 2, 2019, the Michigan Democratic Party used the Voatz platform for delegate credentialing and voting in Detroit, Michigan. In under an hour, more than 2,000 delegates cast their votes for three contests. “Working with Voatz has streamlined our registration and voting processes,” the Director of Party Affairs said, “since we began with Voatz, we’ve dramatically reduced our wait times during credentialing and our members report higher satisfaction with the way ballots are cast.”   

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In November 2018, our Director of Product, Hilary Braseth, delivered a talk for the Women in Blockchain group in Boston, Massachusetts. The talk, “Elections & Blockchains: Can Technology Spark Democracy?”, explored the history and evolution of voter technology across the U.S. landscape, the four major challenges to a voting system, and a blockchain solution. The talk sparked a lively discussion along with great interest to learn more about our systems of voting and the applicability of blockchain.

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Charleston, W.Va. — Secretary of State Mac Warner is very pleased with the completion of the General Election pilot project that allowed deployed members of the military and overseas citizens to participate in our democracy by using a mobile voting application to cast ballots secured by blockchain technology. Warner is a 23-year veteran of the United States Army. While deployed in 2012 and 2014, Warner was not able to vote back home in West Virginia because reliable postal service was unavailable. Until now, absentee voters living out of the country have relied on paper ballot absentees or inconvenient electronic systems that require a printer, scanner or fax machine. Those processes […]

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The Town of Millis in Massachusetts piloted the Voatz platform for an innovative town meeting poll on Election Day (November 6, 2018). “Voatz employees arrived early with plenty of staff, brought all equipment, and problem-solved issues (old building, poor WiFi connection, etc) throughout the day. They provided us results quickly and effectively and have remained in contact since the poll expired. Overall, we could not have asked for a better experience,” said the Town Meeting Review Committee. We thank the 425 citizens of Millis who participated using their smartphones or the Voatz tablet stations.

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This September, we were honored to be featured in a six-part series issued by Udacity, an online platform that offers courses to build professional skills ranging from cybersecurity to design. “Built on Blockchain” is a six-part “original documentary series that aims to demystify blockchain,” featuring how activists and entrepreneurs are building solutions that impact politics, society, and daily life. We encourage you to take a peek — each episode is less than ten minutes — and in particular, at Episode 2, “One Block, One Vote”, where Voatz CEO Nimit shares why he’s moved to do this work, alongside other partners and companies innovating in the democracy and blockchain space.

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The Voatz platform was used for credentialing and voting at the 2018 Massachusetts State GOP Convention in Worcester, where Massachusetts Governor Hon. Charlie Baker was one of the voters using the platform. For the first time, a state-of-the-art biometric security system was deployed for each of the 4 contested ballots, and more than 2000 delegates voted.  

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Secretary of State Mac Warner announces the launch of a secure military mobile voting solution for the May 8th Primary Election. Registered and qualified military voters that are currently deployed from participating counties are now able to vote on the secure mobile application and will continue being able to vote until polls are closed at 7:30 p.m. EST on Primary Election Day on May 8th. All that is needed for qualified, registered military personnel to cast their ballot is a compatible Apple or Android mobile device and an approved, validated State or Federal ID.   This pilot project – launched Friday, March 23rd – was originally limited to […]

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After  more than a year of investigation and collaboration, two Boston-based companies, Voatz, Inc. and Clear Ballot Group, Inc. are announcing their partnership to accelerate the introduction of secure, accessible remote voting in elections. Voatz brings an open source blockchain platform designed for secure, high volume remote voting on smartphones and tablets. It has been independently evaluated for security and has already been piloted successfully in several private and municipal elections in 2016.  Clear Ballot, a voting system company, has provided the Voatz team with election industry knowledge, market requirements and a rich sample election dataset that allows their engineers to understand and build support for the complexities and scale […]

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Attempting to build something socially conscious is usually frowned upon at Fintech (i.e. money focused) hackathons. I happened to be at the Money2020 2016 Hackathon (which is arguably the biggest one around) last weekend and the vibe was pretty much as I had expected. However, one of the challenge sponsors Vantiv had an interesting and somewhat different take on what they wanted participants to build. The thought of using a Sphero to create something useful was enticing enough for me to take up this challenge and so I ended choosing to work on the Vantiv challenge. My hack was called Adjutus – latin for ‘helping someone in need’. My hope was that Adjutus could enable impulse giving by […]

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Team Voatz recently participated in Boston’s HUBWeek, where we spread the word on our cutting-edge mobile voting software. Here are some highlights for those of you who missed out on last week’s festivities: On Thursday 9/29, co-founder and CEO Nimit Sawhney presented at HUBWeek’s The Hype and Promise of Blockchain event at the Boston Federal Reserve. For Voatz, the advent of blockchain is all promise and no hype. Nimit’s presentation covered how the Voatz software uses blockchain technology to protect and secure votes. In short, blockchain is a continuously growing list of data,  in which each individual piece of information is linked to the preceding and subsequent “block” of data. […]

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Aspiring business moguls representing a cross-section of the region’s innovation economy gathered at the Microsoft NERD Center on June 6 for the 2016 MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge’s Startup Spotlight. Showcasing their products and services to more than 350 would-be customers, partners, investors, business development and technology experts, the 30 startups addressed markets ranging from medical devices, agriculture, transportation and even private napping. In addition to making valuable contacts during the night’s interactive networking, the firms vied for bragging rights for 3 prizes: Company I Want to Have a Beer With Future Unicorn Most Likely to Develop a Cult Following The Voatz team was deeply honored to win the ‘Most Likely to […]

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Nearly 2000 delegates interacted with the Voatz platform at the 2016 Massachusetts Democratic Party State Convention held at the Tsongas Center in Lowell MA on June 4, 2016. The delegate badges were specifically tagged with Voatz QR codes to simplify the process of authentication, and direct scanning was enabled via the Voatz Event Manager (VEM) application.

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Jeff Cain, who directs the Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator, has had a ringside seat on innovation happening in the FinTech space. What are some examples of non-fintech companies you have worked with? In our first cohort, we had Voatz, which has a mobile voting application. Whether it’s voting for mayor or student body president or, hopefully eventually, national president, they help you do it on on your phone using our account verification technology, along with a bunch of biometrics, as one of their ways to prove that you are who you say you are. You guys haven’t gotten involved in any of the virtual currency plays, right? Within the incubator itself […]

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At Generation Citizen’s Spring 2016 Civics Day held on Friday, May 13, 2016 at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, around 150 eminent judges used the Voatz platform to vote via their mobile devices. Nearly 350 students from Boston, Malden, Brockton, Arlington, Newton, and Lowell took their first step in becoming lifelong active citizens by presenting their action civics projects from the Generation Citizen semester. The Voatz Analytics Dashboard was also used for real time scoring. Several prominent organizations were involved in supporting the event.

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The Voatz team was honored to receive the Audience Favorite award at the Mass Innovation Nights #84 at District Hall in Boston on March 8th 2016. Many thanks to the Mass Innovation Nights team and Microsoft for sponsoring the event and to District Hall for hosting us. The event brought together all facets of the civic tech ecosystem, from the big players like our sponsor Microsoft New England, to the grassroots participants like our featured startups, to the Massachusetts government. The night featured experts from Microsoft, Business Insurance & Benefits Services of MA, Resilient Coders and a representative from Emerson College. The government also announced a new initiative called GovNext. From their […]

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The Voatz team is honored to be selected to participate in this event as part of HUBWeek. The “showcase” features students and alumni from Harvard University and other area universities, as well as civic tech startups, entrepreneurs, and passionate citizens from across the Greater Boston area. Each presenter will demonstrate their idea through posters, prototypes, and other creative demonstrations. The “challenge” features an esteemed panel of experts and leaders in the local civic tech movement to select the best idea/demonstration. In addition, everyone will be invited to vote for their favorite idea. The #Tech4Democracy Showcase and Challenge was organized with support from: Boston Civic Media Consortium The City of Boston The City […]

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I have long felt some elusive attraction to Model UN—a United Nations competitive stimulation in which teams of high school students engage in political debate. My fascination began in the spring of my eight-grade year as I began the high school application process. After reading extensively through Model UN school profiles, I began to develop an image of the club as some sort of emblem of worldly knowledge that I knew I wished to achieve. And yet, when I arrived at Concord Academy (CA) in the fall of 2012, I did not join their Model UN team. It was the second week of my freshmen year and I was still […]

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Negotiators reached a historic agreement on July 14, 2015 to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions. Currently, the deal is pending in Congress. Congress has the right to review the deal, to approve or disapprove it, and then to overrule a presidential veto if a sufficient number of members of Congress choose to do so. While it is likely that the deal will pass, should Congress disapprove, it would cast doubt on the United States’ ability as a global leader and would likely send the international community into chaos. For America, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany, the deal is an opportunity to […]

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June 15, 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the “Great Charter” that established the rule of law for the English-speaking world. Though it has always been a bigger deal in the U.S. than in Britain, its revolutionary impact still resounds today in more ways than one, writes Daniel Hannan. Source: Magna Carta: Eight Centuries of Liberty  

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President Nursultan Nazarbayev is re-elected to a fifth consecutive term in Kazakhstan, winning 97.7% of the vote, early official results show. An incredible 95.11% of the eligible population of around 10 million came out to vote. Placing aside usual concerns about the suppression of the opposition, this is still an incredible turnout – wow! Source: Kazakh leader gains crushing election victory – BBC News

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Welcome to the Voatz Blog. This is officially our first post and I feel I should start with something which happened earlier today at a Father John Misty concert I attended at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Even though the Paradise is a short walk from my apartment, I had never been there before. I should probably mention that I’ve been living here for almost 12 years now. I do remember buying tickets to at least 3 prior shows over the years but never quite made it to any of them for one reason or another. Well…it turned out to be a great show (FJM is an awesome musician) but something else happened […]

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