Chandler to test mobile voting in effort to make elections faster, more secure

Can mobile voting, using the same technology that helps power Bitcoin, help make elections faster and more secure? The City of Chandler wants to find out, as they begin a pilot program on mobile voting next week.

Those into cryptocurrency may have heard of the blockchain, which is essentially a digital ledger or record. Now, some are wondering if votes can be recorded on the same thing.

"It's not as much about mobile voting as it is about being able to audit quickly, or take a look at results fast, because it's immediate," said Chandler Vice Mayor Mark Stewart.

Vice Mayor Stewart says the city will be the first to start a blockchain voting pilot program. They will be asking people to download an app through the company Voatz. Then, people will vote in a mock election.

Vice Mayor Stewart says the advantages are speed and safety.

"Our ultimate goal is to break it, just like the research companies in Chandler," said Vice Mayor Stewart. "Their job is to find better solutions, and we figure if we do it here at the city level, where it's more trusted -- you have seven council members looking at the data to see if it works -- then you have the county and state with data they can use."

The blockchain has been touted as a system with power spanning from currency to voting, healthcare, and beyond. Data Doctors Cyber Expert Ken Colburn says the potential could be limitless.

"You think about all the people who are saying 'this is not right.' If we can get to the point where blockchain is controlling the voting system, all of those issues of fraudulent votes and things like that become way easier to track, because it's all in this public ledger. There's no who's hiding what. It's all there," said Colburn.

As this is just a test, there are no age requirements, and teenagers will be able to participate. The test will go on for about three weeks, with the results presented at a December City Commission meeting.

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