When You Vote, How Do You Know It Counts?

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When You Vote, How Do You Know It Counts?

When you vote, do you trust that your vote is counted? If you mail an absentee ballot, how do you know that it’s been received and counted accurately?

Our mission is to make voting not only more accessible and secure, but also more transparent, auditable and accountable.

How do we do that?

We’ve built a way for voting to happen on the thing that many of you carry around in your pocket each day — your smartphone.

Here, we share how it works for you, as the voter, to vote with your smartphone, how you can verify that your vote was counted, and how your Election Office can verify that all ballots are legitimate, reflect the voter’s intent, and are tallied correctly.


STEP 1: ENROLLING TO VOTE WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE

First, why the smartphone? Your smartphone contains security features that, even five years ago, didn’t exist. These enhancements cast a wide and valuable infrastructural net that we build on in order to ensure that we’re protecting your privacy and data with the highest standards.

These security features also allow us to ensure that one voter’s identity is linked to only one smartphone at a time in order to prevent you from voting more than once, and to prevent anyone from voting on your behalf.

The process looks like this, also outlined in the diagram above:

  1. You register with your jurisdiction as an absentee voter and, upon approval, download the Voatz app.
  2. You use the Voatz app to verify your identity against the voter registration database, and upon confirmation, your identity is linked to your smartphone and locked with your pseudo-biometric credential (such as FaceID, TouchID, etc) or unique PIN.
  3. When done, any identification documents you provide during the verification process are deleted, and not shared with anyone else.

What’s next?

 

STEP 2: YOU VOTE WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE

Once you’re verified, you receive your mobile ballot inside Voatz on your smartphone, make your selections, sign an affidavit on the screen (~subject to your jurisdictional requirements), authorize submission of the ballot with your pseudo-biometric credential or PIN, and then submit. 

Congrats! You’ve voted. Now, here’s where things get interesting from an audit perspective.

 

STEP 3: VERIFY, AUDIT & CONFIRM YOUR VOTE


The moment you vote, three important records are produced:

  1. A ballot receipt is sent to you, and an anonymized copy is sent to your jurisdiction. It’s protected, and signed with a digital ID (a long string of characters and numbers). With this receipt, you gain the ability to verify that your ballot was received and recorded correctly.
  2. Your votes are stored as vote transactions (think: one oval on your ballot = one vote transaction). They’re anonymized and cryptographically written onto a blockchain network. This allows your overall ballot to be stored in a uniquely tamper-resistant way, and allows your jurisdiction (and interested citizens) to conduct a transparent (yet anonymous) audit after the election.
  3. An official, fully-marked paper ballot is generated for your mobile vote, and printed on ballot paper by your jurisdiction. This paper ballot is immediately ready for seamless tabulation with the normally-used tabulator machines on Election Day, alongside the rest of the ballots people submit at the polls. This paper ballot is also signed with an anonymous digital ID similar to the ballot receipt, which allows your jurisdiction to compare the two during a post-election audit.

In the diagram you can view these three records, where they go and why:

This process enables a fully verifiable paper trail for each submitted ballot.

You remain anonymous, your data remains protected, the tabulation integrates with your jurisdiction’s current operations, and all ballots contain three trails for auditing to ensure all votes were counted as cast. 

Mostly, you get to vote with convenience without compromising security.

Here’s the full process, put together:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Questions? Get in touch.