BOSTON, Nov. 04, 2019 — Voatz, a Boston-based elections company focused on secure mobile voting , announced a collaboration with the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH Educational Foundation (NCAM) to test the accessibility features of the company’s secure mobile voting application.
The mobile voting application, available on compatible Android and iOS devices, allows deployed military personnel and overseas U.S. citizens, as well as people with disabilities, to conveniently and securely vote in elections with their smartphones from virtually anywhere in the world.
“We’re proud to collaborate with NCAM to help make sure people with disabilities have accessible means to raise their voices in elections,” said Nimit Sawhney, Voatz co-founder and CEO. “For too long, the needs of citizens with disabilities have largely been ignored in the perceived conflict between security and convenience. Voatz believes that citizens with disabilities deserve to take advantage of the advanced accessibility features available on modern smartphones. Democracy is at its best when all citizens can vote securely without limitation—physical or geographic.”
Secured with blockchain technology and rigorously tested for ease of use, the app allows eligible users the option to forgo inaccessible paper ballots currently submitted by postal mail, facsimile or email. The Voatz app provides voters with an auditable confirmation and produces a fully marked paper ballot for tabulation, thereby providing unprecedented levels of end-to-end auditability and verifiability.
“In our tests, we have found Voatz’s platform to be highly accessible,” said Donna A. Danielewski, Ph.D., Senior Director of NCAM. “It allows individuals with disabilities to participate in the democratic voting process in a clear and accessible way. We look forward to continuing to work with Voatz in testing the platform as they work to bring it to more markets.”
For nearly three decades, the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) has been a national leader in making digital media accessible for people with disabilities. The team in NCAM—with more than 150 years of combined experience in accessibility—are pioneers, inventors, and problem-solvers, frequently anticipating and creating solutions for tomorrow’s technology challenges.
WGBH is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major source of digital content and programs for public radio through PRX, including The World and Innovation Hub; a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content; and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. More info at www.wgbh.org.
Voatz is an award-winning mobile elections platform that leverages military-grade technology (including biometrics and a blockchain-based infrastructure) to increase accessibility and security in elections. Voatz has run more than 50 elections with state and local governments, cities, universities, towns, nonprofits, and both major state political parties for convention voting. Last year, Voatz partnered with West Virginia to empower deployed military and overseas citizens to vote, marking the first mobile votes in U.S. history. In 2019 Voatz expanded its pilots to Denver and Utah, both of which held citizen’s public-facing audits, hosted by the National Cybersecurity Center. Recently, two counties in Oregon have also started to pilot the Voatz platform. All pilots have led to an increased turnout and in the case of Denver, 100% of voters responding to a post-election survey said they preferred this method of voting to any other. Learn more here.