The Oregon counties of Jackson and Umatilla will reportedly be piloting blockchain-based mobile voting for this year’s special elections. The news was confirmed in a press release from Tusk Philanthropies, the nonprofit organization that has partnered with the two counties on the venture.
The pilot program allows eligible servicemembers stationed overseas, their dependents, and other eligible voters outside the United States to cast their electronic ballot using the Voatz blockchain-based mobile voting app. Voatz has been used in various elections in the United States since 2016.
Currently, those military personnel and dependents who are eligible to vote in the two counties rely on paper or electronic absentee ballots. That option will still be an available option, but Tusk notes that the new mobile voting option will enable those voters to avoid relying on email or postal return of their ballots, and provide greater anonymity.
Oregon Deputy Secretary of State praised the new system’s benefits:
“Secretary [of State] Clarno and I are excited that Jackson and Umatilla counties are looking for better and more secure ways to serve our military and overseas voters. By enabling these voters to cast a ballot using their mobile device which adds the security of modern smartphone technology combined with the security of the blockchain, we can make it easier, and at the same time more secure, for them to cast a ballot from wherever they are in the world.”