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Chandler, Ariz., Begins Mock Election With Blockchain Voting

Chandler is now the first municipality in Arizona to test mobile voting with Voatz, a blockchain-based technology that has been piloted to a limited extent in a handful of real elections.

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Chandler, Ariz., kicked off a new venture into mobile voting yesterday with a mock election during which citizens can use the blockchain-based phone app Voatz to cast ballots.

Residents have a deadline of Nov. 30 to download Voatz, verify their identity through facial recognition and cast a vote. The city will allow residents as young as 13 to participate. Votes will be counted Dec. 1 at Chandler City Hall. The count can be viewed live.

A report on and an audit of the mock election will be completed next month for the City Council. The goal is to see if blockchain voting can be "valuable and viable" for both the local community and the rest of the state, said Vice Mayor Mark Stewart.

"Ultimately, we want to see if the community appreciates it and they feel like it works and they feel safe using it," Stewart told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Stewart said thus far he is "comfortable" with the security of Voatz and that the city only intends to see the potential of the technology without any positive or negative bias.

Last year, Utah County, Utah, made history by becoming the first local area where a citizen cast a vote for U.S. president using Voatz on their cellphone. The app has been featured in other pilots in states as diverse as West Virginia, Colorado and Oregon.

While an attempted hack of Voatz during West Virginia's 2018 midterm election was deemed an instant failure by officials, the technology remains controversial in the election security space. Both individual experts and research organizations have stated mobile voting is nowhere near where it needs to be for prime time.

In previous pilots, Voatz has mainly been used by military members and individuals with disabilities, two groups of voters who face challenges casting ballots in traditional ways.
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