Controversial Blockchain Voting App Voatz Used in Utah GOP Convention

The Voatz platform was apparently a “success” at the Utah GOP convention. However, recently released reports warn of security flaws in the platform.

30 April, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – It seems like the bad days are behind the Voatz voting app. Voatz, the controversial blockchain voting app, used at the Republican convention in Utah on 25 April. Despite its past performance, the Voatz voting application performed successfully at the Utah GOP convention.

Voatz Helps to Select Utah GOP Nominees

The Utah Republican Convention organized to select party candidates for the next June primaries. While conventions usually held in conventional halls or crowded auditoriums, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Democrats and Republicans to go online. Thus, the online voting mechanism featured a blockchain-based application called Voatz.

This application uses blockchain technology to verify the identity of an individual through biometrics and facial recognition. This technology has pilot tested for political parties, universities, non-profit organizations, among others.

Voatz’s co-founder and CEO, Nimit Sawhney said the platform “worked as expected” and managed to process 93% of the registered delegates’ votes. Utah GOP president, Derek Brown praised the app, saying the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and participation was phenomenal, beating other conventions that applied the system. Mr. Brown also added:

“The use of Voatz has allowed us to digitally recreate our usual convention procedures and implement the technology to make the process more convenient and safer.”

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Criticisms On Voatz’s Security

Questions were raised about the platform’s security credentials after a public audit by Trail of Bits. The security company analyzed Voatz and expressed doubts about the security of the application data and the lack of transparency. It also released a 122-page report detailing the lack of smart contracts in the app. The Trail of Bits report also mentions how the user’s identity can compromise due to data validation issues and manipulating the voting data by stealing the user’s identity.

West Virginia decided to stop using the blockchain voting platform to vote for residents with disabilities and citizens residing abroad for their primary elections. Instead, these citizens will use a platform offered by Democracy Live. However, the state was a pioneer in the implementation of Voatz in 2018, which surprised some.

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