DENVER, Aug. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Tusk Philanthropies (TP) today announced the completion of a third-party audit conducted by the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) and Denver Election Divisions. The third party audit showed that votes cast over the blockchain were recorded and tabulated accurately. The final numbers showed that voter turnout doubled from the 2015 election and a post-election survey from the Denver Elections Division found that 100 percent of respondents said they favored secure mobile voting over all methods available to them.
The purpose of the audit was for NCC and members of the public to conduct an independent, third-party audit of the Voatz election results. The NCC worked with Voatz to develop a web-based tool that displays the voter-verified receipt, the tabulated ballot image and the blockchain transaction. Denver invited members of the public to participate in the auditing process and hosted more than 18 volunteers from a diverse set of backgrounds. This was the first step towards the eventual goal of conducting an end-to-end verifiable election, which can be routinely and quickly audited by citizens and independent organizations.
"We are very excited about the promise of this technology. Our goal was to offer a more convenient and secure method for military and overseas citizen voters to cast their ballots, and this pilot proved to be successful," said Jocelyn Bucaro, Denver's Deputy Director of Elections. "More voters participated in this cycle, in part thanks to this convenient method, and those voters who voted using the application prefer to vote by this method in all elections in the future. We were also excited to invite election observers behind the curtain to independently audit the votes cast through the blockchain, and hope this technology can further enhance election transparency."
"Overseas voters face significant barriers to voting. For 12 years as head of the largest election jurisdiction in the U.S, Los Angeles County, I saw first-hand the difficulty and frustration of timely delivery of ballots to and from thousands of military and overseas voters via only traditional mailing methods," said Conny McCormack, former Clerk/Recorder of Los Angeles County. "I applaud Jocelyn Bucaro and her team for their vision and persistence in offering Denver's overseas voters a convenient new option: casting their ballots quickly and securely using new mobile voting technology. I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the audit of this new process conducted by NCC which verified that all ballots cast were counted accurately."
The first audit ran from May 9-16, 2019 following the May 7th Municipal Election and the second audit ran from June 7th to July 8th following the June 4th Run-Off. In a step towards transparency about how the audit was conducted, Denver Election Divisions hosted a livestream with the NCC publicly auditing the municipal election.
The audit conducted by the NCC and members of the public looked at three main components when reviewing all the votes cast in the election:
- A voter verified digital receipt that was was sent to each voter along with an anonymized copy to the Denver election office.
- A scanned version of the tabulated paper ballot that was generated for every mobile vote and printed by the Denver election office on election day for tabulation.
- The anonymized blockchain records representing each oval that was marked by the voters as part of their mobile ballot submission.
"The goal of this audit was to prove that mobile voting can be successful and secure, while also being transparent," said Forrest Senti, Director of Business and Government Initiatives at the National Cybersecurity Center. "We had a diverse group of volunteers from the public use their expertise to verify the election. Together, our volunteers and the NCC team determined that this pilot was successful in allowing secure, mobile voting for UOCAVA voters in the Denver Municipal Elections. With the audit and the blockchain, we are making strides towards conducting an end-to-end verified election and redefining the process of voting so that everyone can cast their ballot safely and confidently."
"Today's existing infrastructure is outdated and vulnerable, and instead of continuing to use systems that we know are prone to hacking and interference, we are looking at advanced solutions such as blockchain and identity verification that offer an anonymous, secure, and transparent way to vote," said Bradley Tusk, founder and CEO of Tusk Philanthropies. "Twice now we have proved the best way to move forward is accompanying blockchain voting with an auditable paper trail to increase voter participation and security measures for upcoming elections."
"With each new mobile voting pilot, we have had the opportunity to learn and refine our system," said Nimit Sawhney, Co-Founder and CEO of Voatz, Inc. "This post-election audit led by the NCC team was a very significant milestone towards achieving a fully end-to-end verifiable voting process. We strongly believe that this step-by-step approach to introducing a new voting method is the best way to make progress and help improve our election infrastructure while managing the risk posed by the various threat vectors."
This marks the second mobile voting pilot that has been thoroughly audited by a third-party organization. The two pilots also directly addressed the four major concerns that have stymied progress in remote voting for over a decade: device security, voter identity, secure ballot storage, and end-to-end voter verifiable elections. Recent research from the University of Chicago found that the ability for military members overseas to vote using a mobile device increased turnout by three to five percentage points for the 2018 federal election in West Virginia. Additional pilots, such as the one announced this month in Utah County, are all progress towards the introduction of a new secure voting method. A mobile voting channel will allow eligible voters to securely receive, mark, verify, and submit their ballot from virtually anywhere in the world.
For more information on the audit, download the full report from the National Cybersecurity Center here.
About Tusk Philanthropies
Tusk Philanthropies was created by Bradley Tusk, Founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings & Tusk Ventures, for the purpose of working on reducing hunger throughout the United States by providing greater access to programs like school breakfast and to dramatically increase voter turnout and participation in U.S. elections through mobile voting, beginning with qualified military service members. Mobile voting is a non-partisan initiative designed to not favor any one candidate or party but to expand voting options to increase participation in our electoral process. None of the Tusk entities have a financial interest in Voatz or any other voting technology company.
Voatz is an award-winning mobile elections platform backed by military-grade security and cutting-edge technology (including biometrics and a blockchain-based infrastructure). Voatz enables voting via compatible smartphones and tablets to increase accessibility and security in elections. Since 2016, Voatz has run numerous elections with towns, cities, states, both major state political parties, universities, and unions. In 2018, Voatz ran the first mobile blockchain vote in US federal election history in partnership with the State of West Virginia to empower deployed military personnel and overseas citizens (UOCAVA) to vote in the primary and midterm elections (24 counties). In 2019, the County of Denver selected Voatz to enable UOCAVA citizens to vote in its municipal general and runoff elections. Learn more at https://voatz.com
About National Cybersecurity Center
The National Cybersecurity Center exists to help secure the world using knowledge, connections and resources to solve global cybersecurity challenges and develop a protected cyber ecosystem. An independent and non-profit think tank based in Colorado Springs, Colo., the NCC provides cybersecurity leadership, services, training and a cybersecurity community for public officials, business executives and the workforce. Discover the NCC at cyber-center.org.
About Denver Elections Division
The Denver Elections Division's mission is to conduct Denver's elections in a fair, accurate, accessible, secure transparent and efficient manner; to educate and encourage the public to participate in voting process; and to maintain accurate voter registration and election records. Denver Elections has won multiple national and international awards for use of technology in elections administration including awards for the first-in-the-nation ballot tracking system BallotTRACE which allows voters to track the status of their mail ballot the same way they track a package and eSign, which lets candidates and issue campaigns gather petitions on tablets instead of paper.
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SOURCE Tusk Philanthropies