Blockchain-encrypted mobile voting comes to Utah

Published: July 25, 2019

CALIFORNIACOLORADOCommunity DevelopmentCONNECTICUTDENVER, CITY AND COUNTY OF (DENVER) (COLORADO)Digital GovernmentEconomic Development/RegulationElectionsFLORIDAGeneral Government ServicesGovernment PerformanceInformation TechnologyInformation TechnologyInnovationKANSASOHIOPolicy and LegislationSupplemental Nutrition Assistance ProgramTENNESSEETransportationUTAH, COUNTY OF (UTAH)WEST VIRGINIA

Utah County is the latest jurisdiction to use blockchain-based app for overseas ballot collection.

Overseas voters from Utah County, Utah will now have the option to cast their ballots in local elections later this year via a mobile app that uses blockchain encryption. The app, Voatz, has previously been used in recent elections in West Virginia and Denver. Despite some concerns around using the technology, Voatz claims to be more secure and efficient than other means of submitting ballots. There are those who say even with secure encryption, digital votes are not as strong as a voter-verified paper ballot. West Virginia’s votes submitted via Voatz were audited four separate times, with all findings confirming the ballots’ authenticity. The votes from Colorado are being reviewed by the National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs, which will also audit Utah County’s results.

Blockchain technology and blockchain based applications are becoming more popular in government technology as of late, as more states are considering and piloting various programs to assess its uses and benefits. The states of Colorado, Florida, Connecticut, and Ohio have all undertaken some initiatives to explore uses and benefits of using blockchain in various applications. These are just a few examples of state government considering potential applications for blockchain, and although it remains to be seen how far the technology will go, it is still at least receiving consideration, if not yet full usage, in state government, and likely will remain a potential area to watch in the future.

The use of blockchain for a voting application is also indicative of another trend in government technology: mobile applications for citizen engagement. Additional research from Deltek recently looked at ways in which state governments are developing and using apps to better enhance interaction between citizens and government. Indeed, this is a priority for state IT leaders, as NASCIO’s most recent survey showed that state CIOs view Digital Government, including digital services, improving citizen experience, and accessibility, as the fourth highest priority for 2019. New, innovative apps to better facilitate government and citizen interaction include the following:

  • Tennessee: MyTN for driver’s license renewal and professional certification applications
  • Kansas: iKAN for vehicle registration renewal
  • Florida: Employ Florida providing access to job postings across the state
  • California: GetCalFresh for a simplified application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

Source: StateScoop