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Chandler to test blockchain technology for mobile voting

Chandler says it will become the first Arizona city to test blockchain technology for mobile voting durin g a pilot program this month. Votes can be cast on the five bond questions from the Nov. 2 election but the votes will have no effect on the actual election. Participants will also answer a short survey about the voting experience.

Starting Wednesday, interested residents will need: a valid email address and mobile number, a smartphone and government-issued photo ID.

People can download Voatz, a free app available from Apple Store or Google Play on their smartphone. To sign up for the app, voters must have a valid email address and mobile number. Chandler residents between 13 and 17 years old can also participate after completing an online registration form to get access to the app.

Once the Voatz app is downloaded, residents must enter required information, including take a “live selfie” to verify that it matches the government-issued photo ID. People can also cast mobile votes in-person at Chandler City Hall through Nov. 30.

The pilot program will use blockchain technology, often described as a digital ledger. Information is encrypted and decentralized to keep any one person or entity from being able to corrupt it.

Mobile votes will be tabulated at Chandler City Hall and streamed live online on Dec. 1. Then, the City Council will receive a presentation about the program and results. 

In a press release, Vice Mayor Mark Stewart said, “Using blockchain technology can be a secure and convenient way for residents to vote in elections. I’m thrilled our City is piloting this initiative, which could allow for even more civic participation.”

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.