Category Archives: Democracy

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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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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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 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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