Pilot Program Using Blockchain Technology Allows Active Duty Service Members Around The World To Vote Via The Voatz App

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New technology is often cited as one likely solution to Election Day difficulties.

Now there’s even an app that’s offering promise.

CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez has more on the search for poll improvements.

On any given Election Day, but particularly on a rainy one, you’d be hard-pressed to find a New York City voter who thinks the election process is a convenient breeze.

“I feel that the system is definitely harder than it needs to be,” Bay Ridge, Brooklyn resident Andrew Coleman said.

“I think you should be able to vote where you work,” added Lanez Cragean of Staten Island.

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A pilot program is underway in west Virginia that allows active duty service members around the world to vote using their phone. (Photo: Voatz)

New York is one of just 13 states that doesn’t have early voting or mail-in voting, and the state has limited qualifications for an absentee ballot. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the election system needs an overhaul.

“The system is broken,” Johnson said, “which means that on Election Day, if there’s a problem, you have hoards and crowds and people who are trying to vote and you want to make it easier for everyone to vote. Our current system in New York City and New York state doesn’t allow that.”

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Bradley Tusk, founder of Tusk-Montgomery Philanthropies, believes the future of voting fits in the palm of your hand.

“We know it’s like 90 percent of adult Americans now have a smartphone in their pockets, right? No matter how busy your day was today, my day was today, there’s no question I would be able to vote on my phone,” Tusk said.

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Tusk’s foundation is funding a pilot program in West Virginia, where active duty service members stationed around the world can vote using the Voatz app downloaded on their phone. Once a vote is cast on the app, it’s transmitted to a computer database using Blockchain technology, CBS2’s Sanchez reported.

“It’s also being transmitted on thousands of thousands of other computers, so if someone hacked my computer everyone else would see that and they would know there was a hack,” Tusk said.

“We want people to vote. We want to make it easier for them to vote. So if folks have innovative and secure ways to do that, these are things we should be looking at,” Johnson added.

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Mobile voting over the Blockchain still needs a lot of testing, but Tusk said in his ideal world people all across the country could be voting on their phones within 10 years.

Voatz app developers say their mobile voting app will only run on particular smartphone models that have the latest security updates.


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