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Controversial Blockchain Voting App Used at Republican Convention



On April 25, the Utah GOP convention reportedly picked their nominees using the blockchain voting platform, Voatz. This platform was previously criticized for numerous security issues in preceding election events.

As Forbes reported, the co-founder and CEO of Voatz, Nimit Sawhney, stated that the platform “performed as expected” and managed to process 93% of registered delegate votes.

Voatz reportedly a success in Utah GOP convention

Utah’s GOP chairman, Derek Brown, praised the app, stating that the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive, and the turnout was phenomenal, beating other conventions that applied the system.

Brown added the following regarding Voatz:

“Using Voatz allowed us to digitally recreate our usual convention procedures and implement technology in a way that made the process more convenient and secure.”

The application uses blockchain technology to verify an individual’s identity through biometrics and facial recognition. The technology has been subject to pilot tests for political parties, universities, non-profit organizations, among others.

However, Voatz has not been without controversy. Recently released reports warn of security flaws in the platform.

Criticisms on the platform’s security

Cointelegraph reported on March 13 that the application was subject to a public audit by the security firm, Trail of Bits.

The app’s lack of transparency in terms of data security was criticized in the 122-page report, which noted that Voatz did not use custom chaincode or smart contracts:

“Several high-risk findings were the result of data validation issues and confused deputies in the core server that could allow one voter to masquerade as another before even touching the blockchain.”

Moreover, West Virginia decided on April 27 that it would no longer use the blockchain-based platform to cast votes for residents with disabilities and citizens residing abroad for their primary elections. Instead, these citizens will use a platform offered by Democracy Live.

The state was a pioneer in implementing Voatz in 2018, making the move surprising for some.



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