Chandler to test blockchain mobile voting in pilot program

Nov 8, 2021, 4:35 AM
(Pexels photo)...
(Pexels photo)
(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — The city of Chandler announced Friday it is launching a program to test blockchain technology and see if voting using a mobile device could be viable in the future.

Chandler residents beginning Tuesday can download the free “Voatz” app from the Apple Store or Google Play and participate in a mock election, according to a press release.

Those who want to participate need to enter the required information and take a picture of themselves which will be matched to their government-issued photo ID using facial recognition.

“We’re looking for new technology to make the processes better and to make it easier for our community to be able to vote,” Vice Mayor Mark Stewart told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“We would be that testing ground for the county and the state to be able to see if this was something that was valuable and viable.”

Stewart said the city has researched the method and added there have been rewards put out to test the hackability of blockchain databases. So far there have been no results.

“I feel comfortable from a security standpoint of the blockchain itself,” Stewart said.

“Where there will be vulnerabilities is if someone loses their phone and their password, just like if somebody lost their mail-in ballot and somebody sent that in.”

Stewart said the city is not rooting for or against the method, rather the program is testing out the possibility of using blockchain technology in elections.

“Ultimately, we want to see if the community appreciates it and they feel like it works and they feel safe using it,” he said.

The city hopes to have at least 1,000 people take part in the mock election, including kids who will have the chance to get an early look at the democratic process.

Residents who are at least 13 years old are invited to participate and vote on bonds including investing in public arts, new baseball fields and more.

Those under 18 will need to complete an online registration with their name, address and birth year to take part in the program, with this information being required since they are not registered to vote in the state.

People will have until Nov. 30 to place their votes and the results will be tabulated at Chandler City Hall on Dec. 1. The tabulation can be viewed live via WebEx with the city sharing the link prior to the tabulation date.

A final report on the pilot and an audit will be presented to the Chandler City Council in December.

Stewart said the method is years away from being used in a real election but noted the military currently uses the technology and both political parties have utilized it for elections in their own parties.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Tasler-Oatley contributed to this report.

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Chandler to test blockchain mobile voting in pilot program