Voting by app is a thing, and it’s spreading, despite the fears of election security experts
- Fast Company
In this age of extreme concern—even paranoia—over election security, you might be a little surprised to hear that some voters in parts of the country are voting from home, using an app.
A Voatz spokesperson told Fast Company that ShiftState Security had completed an independent audit on the technology, but provided no results data.
Voatz says its technology has now been used in 54 elections, including pilots in a West Virginia state election, a municipal election in Denver, and a county election in Utah County (the second-largest county in Utah). Until the Utah County pilot in 2019, the Voatz app had been used to collect the ballots of foreign service members only. Utah County is using it as a tool for allowing disabled people to vote from home.
Voting officials in the above jurisdictions have all called the Voatz pilots successful. The West Virginia secretary of state’s office reported that someone attempted to hack into the Voatz app during the 2018 midterm election, but the app’s security software immediately detected and thwarted the attack.
“We just noticed a certain group of people from a certain part of the country tried to access the system,” Voatz cofounder and CEO Nimit Sawhney told CNN’s Kevin Collier. “We stopped them, caught them, and reported them to the authorities.”
I asked Sawhney via email how his app might be used in the 2020 elections. I wanted to know if the app’s use would continue to be confined to disadvantaged voters like overseas service members and the disabled, or whether the company hopes that one day all voters can use the app to cast their ballot. But Sawhney didn’t respond to the questions.
But Maurice Turner, an election security expert at the Center for Democracy and Technology, points out that the way jurisdictions collect ballots from disadvantaged or overseas voters now isn’t very secure.