Blockchain Voting Set for Oregon and Utah Elections

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Blockchain-based voting is set to be expanded in Utah County and Oregon, with two separate programs from New York-based Tusk Philanthropies set to be rolled out following successful pilots. Utah County will see blockchain voting used for November’s general elections, while Jackson and Umatilla Counties in Oregon will implement the mobile voting system for their upcoming special elections. The progression from pilot to full rollout marks a watershed moment in the concept of blockchain-based voting, which has met with criticism recently following an attempted hack on one platform.

Mobile Voting Expanded to Military Personnel and Disabled Community

Tusk Philanthropies announced the two expansions of their blockchain-based voting platform on Wednesday, with the two schemes being a collaboration between a number of entities. Tusk, a charitable organization headed by Bradley Tusk, founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings, led the concept with help from Voatz, which is the software being used for the actual voting process; the National Cybersecurity Center; and the elections divisions of the respective districts. The expansion of the Utah trial, which took place in August, will see the opportunity to vote via blockchain extended to the disability community, greatly aiding those who have difficulty attending physical polling stations, while the system in Oregon will be extended to active-duty military, eligible dependents, and overseas voters, with everyone able to vote via smartphone wherever they are in the world.

Tusk Aims to “Fix” Broken Democracy

Voatz itself was in the news last week as it was revealed that the FBI was investigating a failed breach of its platform during the 2018 West Virginia midterms, although clearly this has not been thought serious enough to damage the app’s credibility. In a press release announcing the expansion, Tusk said that the ability to vote on a phone would “dramatically expand turnout and loosen the grip on power by special interests and extreme ideologues on both sides”, which ties in with the organization’s goal to “fix” America’s broken democracy by “making sure politicians have to represent all voters and not just the handful who currently vote in primaries or donate money.” These are clearly lofty goals, but if Tusk he feels that blockchain-based voting represents a way of achieving them then he’s certainly going about it the right way.