Due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gathering, Voatz blockchain biometric voting app was the official voting channel during Utah’s Republican convention ended on April 25, when the nominees for the June primary were chosen, writes Forbes.
In the recent Utah convention, “Voatz performed as expected and processed 93 percent of registered delegate votes,” Nimit Sawhney, Voatz, co-founder and CEO, told Forbes.
Derek Brown, the Utah GOP Chair, explained he trusted the app, due to the positive feedback from official who had already used it, and believes it delivered a “convenient and secure” outcome.
Voatz confirms user identity with biometric facial recognition and blockchain technology, and is available on tablets and smartphones. It has been the preferred choice to cast votes not only for political elections, but also for churches, universities, labor unions and others.
The mobile app has been used in federal, state, and local elections in West Virginia, Denver, Oregon, and Utah, the 2016 Massachusetts Democratic Convention, and the 2016 Utah Republican Convention. However, it is surrounded by controversy over security flaws, as pointed out by MIT engineers in the paper “The Ballot is Busted Before the Blockchain A Security Analysis of Voatz, the First Internet Voting Application Used in U.S. Federal Elections.” Researchers claimed the app vas vulnerable to exploit attacks, allowing hackers to manipulate the outcome of the vote.
However, Sawhney claims “The MIT report omitted facts and draws a false conclusion,” because they tested an older platform that was not linked to a live environment.
Forbes also notes several incidents of traditional voting in which ballots were mysteriously excluded, indicating that all systems are fallible.
Last year, a third-party audit completed by the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) and Denver Election Divisions found votes cast via blockchain were recorded and tabulated accurately.
Bug-bounty-hosting platform HackerOne recently cancelled its collaboration with Voatz, calling the company hostile throughout the partnership.