Despite its history of technical and safety issues The Voatz blockchain voting platform was successfully implemented at the Michigan Democratic Party State’s nomination convention.
More than 1,900 delegates at the virtual conference from August 29th to 30th could nominate candidates with Voatz for the Supreme Federal Court of Justice, the state education authority and the state university councils. The event was held online due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic.
“There were many unique challenges at this year’s Congress because of the pandemic, but the Voatz platform addressed many of our concerns,” said Chrisy Jensen, executive director of the Michigan Democratic Party.
“Voatz enabled our delegates to review and participate remotely via their smartphones.”
This is the fourth time the Michigan Democratic Party has used the blockchain-based voting system, however the first start at a virtual convention in times of COVID-19. While the app has enabled various elections in West Virginia, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado, Voatz is not without controversy.
In February, the technology was deployed during the Iowa Democratic President’s meetings, but glitches in the app resulted in a delay of several days in determining the winners.
The Massachusetts-based company has also been publicly criticized for a lack of transparency, particularly in the area of data security. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a report earlier this year identifying security vulnerabilities in the app’s core framework.
These mistakes could allow bad actors to compromise existing vote counts and the privacy of individual users. After the study was published in March West Virginia announced that it would temporarily cease using Voatz for future elections.
However, the technology was later used during the Utah Republican State Congress in April. Nimit Sawhney, CEO of Voatz, said the voting app “worked as expected” and processed 93% of the registered delegates’ votes.