DENVER (CBS4) – A pilot program will allow members of the military and overseas voters who are Denver residents to vote in the May municipal elections through a new smartphone voting application. The city says a mobile app called Voatz uses blockchain encryption to allow for the secure voting to take place.

(credit: Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images)

Denver Elections Division officials say the technology “provides a distributed ledger that is unchangeable and fully auditable to provide a higher degree of security and ballot anonymity than existing remote ballot delivery systems.” Deputy Director of Elections Jocelyn Bucaro said in a statement it allows “ballot transmission that is end-to-end verifiable, provides redundancy and transparency while providing more security than simply returning a ballot via email.”

The city says they will be looking for volunteers to take part in the program who are willing to undergo identity verification. The volunteers will receive their ballots through the app and will vote and cast them through it.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is running for re-election for the second time in May and has several challengers, including former state lawmaker Penfield Tate.

The mobile voting option will also be used if there’s a runoff election, which would take place on June 4.

Denver is following in the footsteps of West Virginia, which used mobile voting application for the primary and general federal elections last year.

The city is partnering with the National Cybersecurity Center and Tusk Philanthropies for the program.

“With turnout this low in national elections, of course we’re stuck with rampant polarization and dysfunction. That only changes if turnout soars. That only happens if we move into the 21st century and let people use the tool already in their pockets: their phone,” Tusk Philanthropies CEO Bradley Tusk said.

Additional Resources

According to the city, the volunteers who apply to take part in the program will be need to go through the following process:

– Uploading a 10-second selfie video along with a picture of their photo ID.
– Go through multifactor and biometric authentication to access the app and cast their ballot.
– Once voters submit their voted ballots, they will receive an email receipt with a PDF of their ballot image so they can confirm that the information was recorded correctly.

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