Mobile Voting is Coming to Utah County Municipal Elections
Utah County becomes the third jurisdiction in the U.S. to offer mobile voting in their upcoming municipal primary election
Tusk Philanthropies (TP) announced today that Utah County is the latest jurisdiction to implement mobile voting in their upcoming municipal primary election in August. The pilot will offer blockchain-based mobile voting to active-duty military, their eligible dependents and overseas voters using their smartphones. Utah County is the third jurisdiction in the U.S. to partner with Tusk Philanthropies on their national efforts to expand mobile voting.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Utah County Elections Division, Voatz, Tusk Philanthropies and the National Cybersecurity Center. Eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming election by opting in to vote electronically on their smartphones. Voters will fill out an absentee ballot request, complete their identity authentication and verification on the Voatz application, and submit their ballot for the election. Voting began June 28th and continues through 8:00 pm on Election Day, August 13.
“I am thrilled that Utah County is partnering with Tusk Philanthropies, Voatz and the National Cybersecurity Center to bring these secure, blockchain-based voting options to Utahns overseas for the upcoming municipal election,” said Spencer Cox, Lieutenant Governor of Utah. “This pilot project is emblematic of Utah’s commitment to safe, efficient elections for all — especially our brave military and their families all over the world. The opportunity for these Utahns to vote via smartphone means they will more securely participate in the democratic processes they are serving to protect.”
Eligible UOCAVA voters registered in Utah County may cast their ballots via smartphone for local races in Eagle Mountain, Highland, Lehi, Mapleton, Orem, Pleasant Grove, Santaquin, and Springville, as well as City Council seats 3 and 4 in Provo. The pilot will be used by troops and overseas citizens serving abroad, who have traditionally had to rely on using absentee paper ballots, making it difficult to participate in elections. According to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, nearly 300,000 overseas voters requested ballots but were not able to return them to their county clerks back home in the 2016 elections.
“Utah’s pilot is another sign that the momentum for mobile voting in our country is very real and supports our theory that when you show people a much better way to do something, there becomes a demand for it,” said Bradley Tusk, founder and CEO of Tusk Philanthropies. “As we enter into a Presidential election year, we have to continue to remove as many barriers and hurdles as possible so a lot more people are able to participate in our democracy.”
Tusk Philanthropies recently announced they successfully completed their pilot for Denver’s May 2019 municipal elections and June 2019 run-off. In a post election survey from the Denver Elections Division, 100 percent of respondents said they favored secure mobile voting over all methods available to them and the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) provided an open audit to the public for the Denver election. Tusk Philanthropies also partnered with West Virginia in 2018 to offer mobile voting in the May and November Primary and General elections, marking the first time a state ever offered blockchain-based mobile voting in a federal election.
Voatz, a mobile elections platform powered by military-grade technology making it safe and easy to vote from anywhere, is the technical provider designing the system. Last year in West Virginia, Voatz launched the first blockchain-based mobile voting solution involved in a federal election. To date, Voatz has conducted 40 successful pilots that include federal, state, and local elections. In its largest election, more than 15,000 votes were cast.
"Election officials in Utah County and across the country are recognizing that current absentee voting methods are not sufficient,” said Nimit Sawhney, CEO and co-founder of Voatz. "Members of the military who are stationed overseas or young people serving missions around the world should be able to take advantage of the latest advances in smartphone hardware, encryption and blockchain technology to cast their ballot. We are delighted that voters in Denver, West Virginia and now Utah County have had an opportunity to evaluate the security and ease of voting from a mobile device."
“The upcoming Utah County pilot will be an exciting opportunity to build off the learnings we gained in Denver,” said Forrest Senti, Director of Business and Government Initiatives at the National Cybersecurity Center. “This next pilot is a great showcase of how public/private partnerships can innovate to push the envelope of what it means to have ease of access and security for all voters everywhere.”