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 of real elections.
Key portions of the user interface and the Voatz backend technology will be demonstrated at the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) meetings held at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. from February 15-17, 2017.
Nimit Sawhney, Co-Founder and CEO of Voatz said, “Both companies recognize that there are a number of questions that must be adequately addressed before a large-scale deployment of remote voting is possible. These include end-to-end verification, voter anonymity, authentication, security, cost, ease of deployment, scalability, user experience and most importantly – public trust. I strongly believe that this partnership puts us in a great position to address these challenges to enable millions of citizens to benefit from the convenience and security offered by this new technology paradigm.”
Larry Moore, Founder and CEO of Clear Ballot said, “Innovation in elections takes too long and there are too many barriers to entry in this market. I am convinced that the fastest way to accelerate election innovation is for voting system companies, like Clear Ballot, to help promising new technology companies with technical support, election industry knowledge, regulatory requirements and market access. An example is that people want to vote on their smartphone. Two of the challenges to remote voting have been security and accessibility. Blockchain technology coupled with smartphones and tablets have the potential to solve these problems, but this pairing must be rigorously assessed before widespread deployment. With this partnership, we break down the barriers to entry and begin the innovation cycle to address the need for secure, accessible, remote voting.”
Imagine the convenience to registered voters who receive a sample ballot on their smartphone and make their selections using the familiar accessible features of an app on their smartphone. Then, when the polls open, they bring their smartphone with their pre-marked ballot to the polling location. By building the app on the blockchain architecture, it is not a great leap to imagine the voter not having to make the trip at all.
Working together, Voatz and Clear Ballot are tackling the complex problem of secure, accessible remote voting.
There is a lot of promise from the technology you hope to make useful in this project. There is a sense of physical ballot tracking and an anonymity layer in auditable paper systems that should be carefully modelled to allow legal process parallelism. And there is nothing stopping you from doing it right.
You should be able to publish process diagrams with no security risk. This would allow people to buy into system on the basis of its equivalency.
Go for it right, and you might really have something.