We are delighted to announce the launch of new pilot programs with Jackson County and Umatilla County in Oregon that will provide mobile voting secured by the blockchain to deployed military personnel and overseas United States citizens during the 2019 general elections this year.
We commend Jackson County and Umatilla County teams for seeking new, innovative technologies to improve our election infrastructure and provide secure, auditable, transparent voting options for voters. With this pilot program, Jackson County and Umatilla County are leading the effort in the State of Oregon 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 significant stepping stone that we hope many other states and cities will follow.
Eligible deployed military and overseas voters from both counties now have the option to vote with their smartphones from almost anywhere in the world. By using the Voatz application on their mobile phones, they will forgo the time-consuming process of mailing in an absentee ballot, will receive an auditable confirmation, and will be able to verify their vote within seconds of voting.
With each of these pilots, we gain valuable feedback and continue to incorporate the learnings from the recent experiences of Utah County, the City & County of Denver and the State of West Virginia.
The mobile voting option is being offered in addition to the current absentee options (mail, fax, and email). For uniformed military and overseas citizens, jurisdictions are required by law to send the ballot to voters 45 days prior to the election, allowing sufficient time for the ballots to be returned and counted. Ballots sent to participating voters using the Voatz application will be received within minutes, rather than days or sometimes weeks, and can be returned to the jurisdiction the instant the voter submits their ballot. The ballots that the jurisdiction receives are formatted, printed, and tabulated per standard procedure, and contain an anonymous ID that can be used for a rigorous post-election audit.
To use the Voatz platform, eligible voters must submit an absentee ballot request to their election office indicating a preference for mobile voting, and then complete an authentication process on the Voatz application.
The pilot is a collaboration between Voatz, Jackson County, Umatilla County, Tusk Philanthropies, and the National Cybersecurity Center. To learn more, read the press releases from Tusk Philanthropies.