New Podcast: Pete Martin Wants to Restore Faith in Elections with New Voting Technologies

Pete Martin, the CEO and founder of Votem, was interviewed on Mission Matters Business Podcast by Adam Torres. Pete Martin has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise technology and software. In addition to launching and running Votem, he is the author of Sparking a Mobile Revolution: How Mobile Voting Will Change the World as We Know It.

Below is the Transcript of the Podcast

Adam Torres (00:12):

Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres. You can follow me on Instagram @AskAdamTorres. And if you’d like to apply to be a guest on the show, just head on over to MissionMatters.com and click on be our guest to apply. Okay. So today I have Pete Martin on the line and he is founder and CEO of Votem. Pete, welcome to the show.

Pete Martin (00:36):

Thanks, Adam. I really appreciate it. I’m super honored to be on the show. We’ve got a pretty big mission to talk about. So I’m super excited to have a little bit of fun today.

Adam Torres (00:44):

Yeah, this is going to be fun. Excited is an understatement on my end. I mean, it’s not often I get to talk to an entrepreneur or a business owner that has a big, big mission of upgrading democracy. When we were preparing for this, I was trying to wrap my around it and I’m like, “Wow, this is big.” You’re really looking at making a difference and doing some big things. So, I’ll start. We’re going to get into Votem. We’ll talk about specifically what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, how you’re solving a lot of big, critical challenges out there. Just to get us started, I’ll start this show, like we start them all. So Pete, we at Mission Matters, we end amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts. So that’s our mission here. Pete, what mission matters to you?

Pete Martin (01:30):

The biggest mission that matters to Votem, when we talk about upgrading democracy is we want to try to restore trust in elections globally. So if we talk about what happened in the U.S. last year and is still perpetuating right now between misinformation, disinformation, the fact of the matter is that trust in the outcome in election is at an all-time low. there is a group called the Edelman Trust. They have the Edelman Trust Barometer. What they found is that the trust in elections and trust in government and trust in election outcomes globally is at an all-time low over the last, I think, 60 or 80 years that they’ve been studying this. So that’s our mission is to restore trust. We think the most important factor in restoring trust is to give the individual voter or the citizen the verifiable proof that their vote was counted exactly as they cast their ballot. That’s this really difficult mission that we’re trying to chase after.

Adam Torres (02:27):

Yeah, that’s a big one, Pete. This is one that’s going to change the fates of many. I love it and it’s one of the reasons that I was excited to have you on the show today. So we’ll go further down that path, but I’d like to know a little bit more about just Pete. How did you get started on this mission as a business owner and on the journey to tackle this type of problem?

Pete Martin (02:49):

So, I’m a serial entrepreneur. I was genetically encoded an entrepreneur. My grandfather was. My father was. I don’t think I had a choice. Votem is actually my fifth company. I sold my last business about a little over five years ago. I’ve always been interested in politics. I ran for president of my student government in high school and just have always watched from the sidelines with a fascinating curiosity. So when I sold my business, I very seriously thought about going into politics at the state level in Ohio, which is where we’re headquartered. A lot of my friends and family who know me just said, “Pete, you’re the classic type A entrepreneur. Politics is a completely different animal. You’re not a very patient man. Just make sure that that’s what you really want to do because we think you’re going to go crazy.” Right?

Pete Martin (03:38):

So, I talked to a lot of advisors on the political front and had that rattling around in the back of my head. I ended up going to a CEO conference put on by a gentleman by the name of Peter Diamandis. Peter Diamandis has run what’s called the XPRIZE and Singularity University, and very good friends with Elon Musk and folks like that. And so, he’s got a very different perspective on the world and perspective on business. So at this conference called Abundance 360, he had everybody in the audience go through this exercise, this little workshop. The workshop was basically to take out a blank piece of paper and write down what you’re going to do before you die that will positively impact a billion people in the world.

Adam Torres (04:25):

Wow.

Pete Martin (04:26):

And so, his point was you’re all business people, you know how to make money, create wealth, whatever, but don’t focus on the money, focus on impact, right? And so, this is a way to kind of reframe that thinking of what could be your life legacy, right? What is your impact? I didn’t know this question was coming, so I sat there for five minutes just going, “Oh my God, to impact a billion people, what would I do?” I literally wrote down mobile voting on this piece of paper and I’m like, “Wow, where did that come from?” Right? The more I looked at these two words, I thought for me personally, this is the perfect intersection for me. I’ve been in technology my entire career. This is a way to get into politics without being square in the center of politics, right? Most importantly, it was a big impact.

Pete Martin (05:13):

Since it was my fifth company, my four companies prior to that, we’re great. We had a mission, but it was a small mission in whatever market we were playing in, but nobody missed us if we went away. From that perspective, it wasn’t really this global big impact thing. So I thought about that and I spent a lot of money for this conference and I literally spent the rest of the conference writing down the hundred questions about voting. At the time, I’m like, “Who buys election systems? How does this happen?” Right? I didn’t know any of this stuff. So I spent the next six months talking to a lot of people about, is there a market opportunity here? Is this really an impact that we could make or it’s just a pipe dream? Why are we not doing it right now? All that kind of stuff. So, that’s how I got started in this next venture of mine.

Adam Torres (06:05):

Wow. What a story. It’s like sometimes when those moments of inspiration hit, I mean, many years in the making to get to that point, to be at that conference, to be at that place. So just for context, for everybody watching this, we’re recording this in 2021, because people will be watching this for years and years and years, so 2021. And so, I want you to maybe start out with painting the picture of the current voting landscape. Let’s just say we could say what’s wrong. We could say the opportunities, what’s broken. I mean, lots of different ways to word it, but it’s definitely not perfect. So give us your views on some of the opportunity areas for the current voting landscape.

Pete Martin (06:47):

Yeah. So we’ll focus a little bit on the U.S. first and then I’ll pull out a little bit and we’ll talk about what’s going on around the world at a macro level. So in the U.S., for those of you that are listening now, if it’s 10 years from now, you’ll look back at the 2020 elections and say, “Oh my God, what just happened in the U.S.?” Right? Effectively, so we had the highest turnout that we’ve had in a long, long time, 40-some years, right? But at the end of the day, the loser, President Trump and a lot of folks in the political environment have sown a lot of mistrust in the outcome. Okay. This has been adjudicated in 60 courts. There were claims of fraud. Claims that the election was stolen from him.

Pete Martin (07:31):

I’m not going to get political at all. I want to talk about the fabric of the voting process and the election systems, right? What’s really happened now is there was a growing mistrust in moving towards electronic voting, on electronic voting machines, perhaps online voting, which is the stuff that we’re doing, everything but paper ballots. And so, what’s happening now is there’s a movement back towards moving to paper, which is how we did it basically a hundred and some years ago. A lot of that is because of this trust in something called software that we can’t see it, we can’t feel it, we can’t touch it. We don’t trust it as much. And then, obviously, the legitimate fear of hacking, right?

Pete Martin (08:17):

We know that nation-states were trying to interfere with the elections and we’ll talk about that a little bit, but between all of that and then all of the stuff that’s happening in social media, it’s just created this environment, where we’re supposed to be this beacon of democracy and we’re supposed to think that we have a great process to elect our leader, and it’s at an all time low, right? There’s this conflict between how elections are run and the verifiability of them and our trust in that process and accessibility. 

So let’s just say, we agree, even though I don’t agree, that paper is the best method, right? There’s a whole demographic of people in the U.S. and globally that can’t maybe get to the poll for lots of reasons. I’ll give you a personal story around that. Or they physically can’t handle a paper ballot because of a physical ability that they don’t have.

Pete Martin (09:16):

And so, there’s always this tension between making voting accessible and making it secure and verifiable and transparent, right? So in the U.S., we’re going through this giant demographic experiment right now, which is why we call it upgrading democracy of we’re actually going back into the past and in ways that we did it a long time ago, even though the rest of the world and everything else we do in our lives is moving to electronic, from hailing a cab on Uber to paying our taxes, to banking, you name it, medical records. Everything is moving in an electronic direction. In the election space, we’re moving in the other way. This is crazy.

Pete Martin (09:59):

There are countries around the world that have moved in this direction a little bit more than we have. There’s a little country called Estonia that’s been doing this for about 12 years. There’s a very interesting story going on in Brazil right now. Brazil has been doing electronic voting for 12 or 14 years now. It’s not online voting, but it’s electronic voting, where you literally vote on an electronic machine and cast your ballot. The current President now is sowing some distrust, saying that he doesn’t trust the machines that they’ve been using for 14 years and he wants to go back to paper ballots, right? His reason for that is it’s less secure, right? It’s much more easy to manipulate. But Adam, there’s lots of stories about ballot boxes full of paper ballots not showing up at the precinct or showing up at a dump store, sitting at some trunk somewhere.

Pete Martin (10:53):

And so, the global landscape and the U.S. landscape of voting is just in this disarray of… A lot of people, if you talk to the normal citizen and we’ve talked, we’ve done tons of surveys on this with 10,000 of people and they will say, “I support online voting if you can convince me, Pete, that it’s safe and secure.” Right? We know it’s a better way to vote, and I’ll share some stories in the show about that. We just want to know that we can trust it. One of the things that we’re working on actively and it’s a big part of our mission is if you can give people that confidence that their vote was actually counted, then we can help start to begin to restore that trust. So the story that I always ask people, the question I always ask people, let’s just say, you believe going to a polling place and filling out a paper ballot feels more secure. The minute you leave that polling place, how do you know that vote was counted?

Adam Torres (11:50):

You don’t.

Pete Martin (11:51):

You don’t.

Adam Torres (11:52):

You do not.

Pete Martin (11:53):

Right? You absolutely do not.

Adam Torres (11:54):

We’ve seen enough stuff on social media that were legit videos, whatever. We’re not getting political, but just in general, whatever, we know that paper allows for other things to happen, for sure.

Pete Martin (12:07):

That’s exactly right. And so, people forget that when you think about it. So, it’s this very interesting dilemma of that the normal citizen says, “I think it’s a better method. Just convince us it’s secured and it can’t be hacked.” Right? Then you’ve got elections officials, the ones who actually run elections will say, “We kind of support it too. We don’t necessarily understand the tech, but as long as the experts say this is okay, we’re good with it.” And then you get the elected officials, and that’s where the problem comes in because we say in the voting space that our job is to convince the losers that they lost fair and square, right? That’s the name of the game. And so, we have some technology that finally, you can have all kinds of stakeholders in election. You can have candidates, parties, media, election observers can all validate every single vote in real time with some technology. That’s never been done before.

Adam Torres (13:05):

Wow.

Pete Martin (13:06):

Right? So if we can move to that direction, where everybody gets the chance to audit mathematically every single vote that comes in, you may not like the outcome of the election, but you can’t dispute it, right? You can’t contest it. That’s the big mission. It’s a really big one. It’s a really hard one, but it’s a worthwhile pursuit,

Adam Torres (13:29):

As you say this, it’s like one of those things that it seems as soon as you say it, it’s common sense. Who wouldn’t want it, number one? If you failed to had that confidence that your vote was counted and just thinking about just the potential for what could happen with that, how much more of a turnout we’d have? Because I feel like many people don’t show up just because they feel their votes are not going to be counted. I don’t mean literally by any type of fraud. I just mean in general they think that their voice doesn’t matter as a participant in democracy. So they feel isolated from it. Now, whether that’s right or wrong, doesn’t matter, but that’s the feeling for a lot of people.

Adam Torres (14:08):

And so, now, if you had that, even if it wasn’t real time, which the amazing thing is that you’re working on real time, even if it wasn’t, even if you got… This is the way I’ve always seen it. You get a confirmation email for everything. You get a confirmation for everything, when you go to the bank. If I go buy a stick of gum from 7-Eleven right now, I’m going to get a confirmation in the form of a receipt. So when you think about something as huge as who are our elected leaders and officials, it sounds obvious. I don’t get how maybe people don’t get that.

Pete Martin (14:43):

Here’s a crazy concept too. So there is a law, and I can’t remember the exact statute in federal banking, right? So if you think about electronic banking versus going to a branch or whatever? So let’s say you go to an ATM. You withdraw some money, you deposit some money, you get an ATM receipt, right? So under federal law, the electronic transaction record actually trumps anything that is on that paper receipt. So there’s this movement towards paper ballots and a paper receipt, but the fact of the matter is under normal statutes in the U.S., that electronic transaction is way more verifiable. It’s indisputable versus that little piece of paper that I just made up anywhere, right? It’s crazy. And so, again, it’s common sense stuff that when it comes to elections, all common sense seems to have flown out the window. It’s crazy.

Adam Torres (15:36):

Let’s go further. I mean, we talked about it a little bit, but I want to get into the heart of it. So let’s go further into Votem and exactly how this works. So first off, maybe just tell us a little bit more about the company.

Pete Martin (15:49):

Yeah. So, the company is about five years old and we use this technology called blockchain. But we’re not going to go into the technology at all. We’ll talk about what it enables, I think, which is most important. To date, we have tallied over 13 million votes on our platform. Now, the majority of that has been in private elections. But in the 2020 elections, we did support at a couple states for what’s called UOCAVA voters, so basically the military and overseas voters. The way that it works and if you’re not in the industry, some of this terminology is a little bit confusing, but they don’t actually vote. They submit their ballot electronically through us. We encrypt that ballot. And then the elections officials decrypt the ballot. They turn it into plain text, whatever. And then they process it as they normally would.

Pete Martin (16:39):

But to the voter themselves, they voted online. They don’t know any different, right? They marked their ballot online. They got a submission. They got a receipt. They got a confirmation. They fill out an affirmation that they are who they are. They went through the whole process of authenticating that they were a registered voter. So that whole thing, to them, they voted online. The beautiful thing about this constituency, the military and overseas voters… And we support disabled voters in the state of Montana as well.

Adam Torres (17:06):

Awesome.

Pete Martin (17:06):

I’ll talk about that in a second. When you’re serving military personnel and their families, these are the men and women who are supporting our right to vote. That’s what they put their lives on the line to do this. And so, this came about many, many years ago, where the Department of Defense basically said, “You guys are making it really hard for our military people to go vote.” The average turnout in that constituency has been about seven or 8% historically. Okay. It’s horrible because the process was so difficult. And so, we’ve been able to really make this process a lot easier, both in terms of an elapsed time and just the ease of it.

Pete Martin (17:48):

We had an email from a woman, well, actually a guy on a ship in the Mediterranean for one of our states who said, “I’m from this state. I just voted online. This was so easy. This is phenomenal. I’m sitting next to a guy from,” and I won’t name the other state, “But from another state who they won’t allow him to do this and he’s got to wait three weeks for his ballot and then fill it out and hope to God, it makes it back in time, right? And I just did this. Please, do this in other states. It’s phenomenal.” And so, again, it’s crazy that should be the standard, right?

Adam Torres (18:23):

So, tell me a little bit more about the user experience. So for that, it could be for that gentleman in the military or just in general. So, I’m in California. So if California starts using it, what would it look like for me? How would that work?

Pete Martin (18:39):

There’s really three steps, really four steps in the process, where we want to give you the evidence that your vote was counted. So the first one is we want to actually prove that Adam Torres is actually Adam Torres. Each state varies on how they do that. Typically, we want a combination of your full name, your address, and the last four of your social and your birthdate, right? So every state has different ways they authenticate you, but that’s the first step. We do that against the voter registration database. Or in some states, we actually do the registration in process. So you authenticate yourself. That’s the first proof point, if you will.

Adam Torres (19:17):

Which is pretty obvious. Of course, they want to know you are you. Okay, go ahead.

Pete Martin (19:21):

That’s right, right? In some cases, we can do thumbprint. We can identify your face, scan face against a driver’s license. So it just literally depends not only technology, but on the statute and the state that we’re working with.

Adam Torres (19:35):

Got it.

Pete Martin (19:36):

So we proved that you are you, that you’re actually Adam and that you’re voting. And then based on that, we know what precinct you’re in, so we know exactly what type of ballot to give you. Okay. So then we give you ballot. Where the complexity of elections comes in is you could have somebody on the other side of town, who’s going to get a different ballot because you might have mill levies or bond issues or school district stuff that’s relevant for you, but not the guy or the lady that’s on the side.

Adam Torres (20:02):

So it’s highly customized is what it turns out.

Pete Martin (20:04):

Very customized, right? There are thousands and thousands of styles for any particular state or even county. So, we give you the proper ballot. You mark your ballot. You say, “All right, that’s exactly how I wanted my vote to be cast.” You hit submit. That’s your next evidence point. Okay. We’re tracking all this stuff, not the markings, but the fact that you submitted a ballot. At that point, we actually essentially remove your identity from the ballot. Okay. So we know that step one, you are authenticated, then we forget that you’re Adam after we serve you up the proper ballot. And then when you submit and confirm, then we basically separate that ballot from your identity. Okay. Then, you get another confirmation that basically the servers received it. Okay. So, you marked it exactly as you intended. That’s the second proof point.

Pete Martin (20:54):

Third proof point basically is we received your ballot, right? Then the final one, which is this is the only technology where we can do this, you can’t do with paper, you can’t do with electronic voting is we give you basically this code. And then once we do the counting, we shuffle all the ballots, so if you imagine, there’s a ballot box, physical ballot box, and somebody is shaking it and they dump it out on a table and start to read them, tally them, we do that electronically and we do that in a very secure encrypted environment. Then we decrypt the ballots, and then we count them. We do a check on that to make sure that whatever, if a hundred ballots came in, a hundred ballots got counted.

Pete Martin (21:34):

And then we create to a bulletin board basically a log of all the ballots that we tallied. And then you can compare your number to that bulletin board. If they match, you know that nothing changed, not a bit, not a mark, nothing changed between the time you marked your ballot and the time we counted it, right? It is the only technology of the entire voting system where we can do that. So you now know factually irrefutably that your ballot was counted exactly as you cast it, right? That’s the power of what we do.

Adam Torres (22:07):

It’s so logical. You walk me through that user journey. It seems like you’ve taken, I mean, all this complication, everything else. I mean, the main thing with voting too, in my opinion, is that it has to be simple to where anybody can understand.

Pete Martin (22:25):

That’s right.

Adam Torres (22:26):

Whether you’re high and really advance in tech or other things like… For whatever it’s worth, you have to be able to understand it. You have to be able to understand the process and get that thing within a minute, right? So, your user journey sign up, you have to say who you are, going to vary depending on what state you’re in-

Pete Martin (22:46):

That’s right.

Adam Torres (22:46):

… whether it’s facial recognition, whether it’s thumbprint, whether it’s type in your name or last four of your social, whatever. So now we know who you are. After you verified who you are, you’re able to do the voting. The voting is highly customized towards you, towards your county. So that things as small as or as important, not just small, but details as small a local school bond that you’s thinking about your voting dollars, do I want to spend money to support that or not, something that granular is not going to be missed. You cast your vote.

Pete Martin (23:21):

That’s right. Let’s compare it to paper-based voting. Okay. So there’s a couple concepts here that we basically saw for this. So the first is as many times as you ask somebody to fill in the little bubble with the black pen, inevitably people will put an X or a check.

Adam Torres (23:37):

Oh, really?

Pete Martin (23:38):

… or the hanging chad back from 2000, right? By law, those have to be rejected. Okay.

Adam Torres (23:45):

Oh, I didn’t know that.

Pete Martin (23:45):

So no matter how many times you tell somebody to do that, they just don’t read the… People don’t read instructions, right? So A, we solve for that. The second thing is let’s just say you have a contest, where it says you can only vote for one person. You can only mark one candidate for president. Inevitably, people will vote for two or something. We can keep you from doing that electronically. We won’t literally won’t let you mark two. We can only let you mark one, right? Same thing, that’s called overvoting. Then there’s a concept called undervoting, which says by law, for this statute, you have to pick one choice, right? Some people be on paper ballots might say, “Well, I didn’t read up on it. I don’t study them. I’m not going to mark it.” Ballot gets rejected. Okay.

Adam Torres (24:28):

Wow.

Pete Martin (24:29):

We control it. We literally won’t let you go to the next contest until you mark that. So these very simple human errors we saw for all of that stuff before you ever submit your ballot.

Adam Torres (24:40):

Wow. Also, just the [crosstalk 00:24:41] errors.

Pete Martin (24:41):

Yeah. So we know by the time you get to the point of submitting your ballot, all those common typical errors that happen and all these ballots that get rejected, we don’t get them rejected. So you can’t move until you complete the ballot.

Adam Torres (24:55):

Oh man, which is terrible because somebody’s thinking that they voted or that they did this and they did that and they’re like, oh, they didn’t mark the ballot right or they just missed something. Because of that, they went. They took their time. They thought they were participating and then it wasn’t counted, which brings me to the next part of your process, which was essentially, they voted, they’ve submitted. Now, Adam, on that electronic vote is no longer Adam. Now, I’m just a number. I have that number. The number is also associated with the ballot that I submitted, the electronic, I should say, ballot that I submitted. Now, everything is mixed up. Not my answers, but the tallies mixed up, so the count will be shuffled.

Pete Martin (25:35):

It’s anonymous. It’s anonymous at that point, right?

Adam Torres (25:38):

So you’re basically like if you were a dealer, you’re shuffling the cards or you’re washing the cards there. Again, so when it comes back to you and you’re looking at was your vote counted or not? Well, number one, when you did the submission, you received your confirmation there. The next point of confirmation, correct me if I’m wrong, is now when the tally comes out, so to speak, and all the votes are listed, you can match your number, the number on your system, so that now you can say, “Okay. That was my vote. I know because I have the number. I have the confirmation. That was mine. My answers were counted. They were not changed.”

Pete Martin (26:15):

That’s exactly right. The way that our technology works in this thing called blockchain is there’s this concept called validators. So you can think of them as auditors, right? And so, there’s essentially a mathematical formula to say, does all the math, does all the software code add up by the time I get to the each step of the process? Of all the auditors, if you will, two-thirds of those auditors have to agree mathematically that things are adding up. The reason it’s not 100% is let’s just say somebody attacks one of the servers and the server goes down, right? So you don’t ever want to be a place where you got 100%. So it’s called this consensus protocol. As long as two-thirds always agree each step of the way, you know factually that everything is copacetic.

Pete Martin (27:04):

I’ll give you a real story. For the fourth or fifth year, we’ve just run the vote for the Radio Hall of Fame. We just finished out. There’s, I think, a hundred-some thousand votes. The first year that we did this, they moved from paper ballots to online ballots. Their auditor, so they actually hire an audit firm that actually audit the results. So we set up the separate server for the auditing firm and said… Once we did that, we literally cut off all access. So if something happened to it, we’re like, “You’re on your own. We can’t do anything.” We literally cut off our own access. And then we had a server and we were validating every vote that came in in real time. It used to be, they would take a couple days after the election to actually certify the results, right? Because they wanted to do the audit and they’re looking at ballots, whatever. They’ve now moved to within 10 to 20 minutes after the election’s over, they certify the results.

Adam Torres (27:56):

Wow.

Pete Martin (27:57):

That’s the power of what we do.

Adam Torres (27:59):

That’s amazing. What kind of response did you get from that? I’m just curious.

Pete Martin (28:04):

As you might imagine. So the board for the Radio Hall is very happy. The chairman is very happy. You think about it, from a candidate perspective, everybody is waiting, “Oh my God. Are these the results and have you certified them? Did I win or did I not win?” So everybody is on pins and needles. What we’ve found is the longer that it takes, the more doubt it sows, right?

Adam Torres (28:29):

Oh, that makes sense.

Pete Martin (28:30):

Right? And so, just like happened in the U.S. presidential election, as the results kept coming in later and later and later, it sowed more and more doubt. So if you can deliver results like that and you have these external auditors and independent authorities saying, “Everything, all the math worked out properly and we gave you the results in 10 minutes,” the doubt goes away.

Adam Torres (28:53):

Yeah, that’s huge. I mean, that’s big time and that’s just proof-positive. It seems to me like the more people use this technology state by state, county by county, however this has to go, which brings me to my next question, but that just means the trust will build. They’ll see it. The more people do it. If I was one of those voters voting in that particular election and I feel this real time experience, and then I have to go deal with when it’s time to do my state or local or federal elections, then I’m thinking about, “What I have to do? Why can’t I just use… What was that thing I did for this other vote? That worked. Why can’t I do that?” Logically, it just makes sense that the adoption rate would over time improve, which brings me to my next question. So, what’s next? What’s next for you? What’s next for Votem? Where do we go from here?

Pete Martin (29:45):

Yeah. I’ll tell you just to hit off that last point of the… We do a little survey of all of our voters afterwards. 99-point, I don’t know if it’s 100%, I’m sure some people not fill out the survey, but 99% of the people say this is vastly superior of voting in any other method. We know we’re in the right direction here. There’s four big challenges we have to attack. One is just the technological challenge in terms of proving to security researchers and academics and public officials, frankly, that the technology is sound, that it works, that it’s legitimate, and frankly that it can’t be hacked. Okay. Then you’ve got all the political issues, which we’re not going to deal with. We’re going to let someone else would deal with that.

Pete Martin (30:30):

And then you’ve got social issues of, “I can’t see the technology. Yes, this is an easier user experience. But again, I want to know that the results are legitimate and they haven’t been hacked and manipulated.” Right? So there’s social media communications thing around that that we can influence a little bit. And so, we’re focusing on those two paths, which ultimately will lead to running a lot more pilots. We know that the more pilots we run successfully without incident and people get used to this method.

Adam Torres (31:03):

I mean, speaking of pilots, so you gave us one. So, is there anything else planned? How do you plan to expand that thought process? Because I feel like pilots is the way. I mean, I would say that, “Hey, sign us up over here at Mission Matters. What kind of vote? What can we do at Votem?” But all jokes aside, what you’re doing is much more serious. This isn’t like an online poll. This isn’t something like that.

Pete Martin (31:27):

That’s right.

Adam Torres (31:27):

This has the truth and potential to literally upgrade democracy, which again, that’s a big statement, bold claim, but it’s pretty obvious. If people feel empowered to participate more, if they feel that their vote counts, their vote matters, if they get at real time or faster results, all these things add up. So again, so pilots, how do you plan to continue on that part of the mission?

Pete Martin (31:52):

Yeah. What we’re focused on right now for the next election cycle in ’22 and even ’24 is winning the trust and the confidence of elected officials and elections officials that actually run. I mean, the way that we’re doing that, as well as citizens is we actually own the patent for something called express voting. So the concept is on your phone, you authenticate that you’re eligible voter. You get your ballot. You mark your ballot. You submit it. And instead of actually casting an actual vote, it creates a QR code. Okay. By law in most states, you still have to go to the polling place. Okay. So think about fast pass or think about you pre-order your Starbucks, or whatever similar analogy. And so, the idea is we can then go to a polling place, wherein we saw in 2020, these massive lines in Georgia and everywhere of people that waited four hours, six hours to go vote.

Pete Martin (32:54):

So we can now deliver a fast pass line, if you will, where you’ve already marked your ballot. Once you check in, then you literally hold that QR code up against the machine. It prints off your printed ballot that’s already marked. You hand it over to the elections official and you’re done. And so, we can massively accelerate the time that takes you to actually go into the polling place, cast your vote. All the time it takes to do that, we basically eliminate all of that. And so, the benefit of that is we can operate in all 50 states. We can eliminate majority of the lines at the polling place, and it’s still a paper ballot and you’re not changing any of the process. We can fit into the existing voting infrastructure without changing anything.

Pete Martin (33:39):

It’s really indisputable because you’re not actually voting online. We think the benefit of that is it’s this perfect ramp to the citizens getting super comfortable with. I voted online and that was a vastly easier process. We already had the technology to not create a QR code to basically hit submit, right? And then your vote is cast. And so, we can just literally flick a switch to get to that point. So that’s what we’re focused on for 2020. We call it vote and go. We think that if we can build a groundswell of people who just say, “My gosh, I want to do that because that’s way easier. I trust it because I’m printing off a printed ballot,” we’ll be in a much better position in 2024 and beyond to really make a huge impact in the U.S.

Adam Torres (34:23):

It’s almost like a concert ticket, right? Once upon a time, at Ticketmaster, you used to have to wait in line at your stadium and then you got to pay. Then you got to bring out your credit card. And then at another point in time, you’re like, “Oh wait, I can just pay online? Okay. Great. I pay online. Then I print out my little sheet. Then I go and I get right in. I don’t have to wait in that other line.”

Pete Martin (34:47):

That’s exactly right.

Adam Torres (34:47):

So it becomes just like a concert going experience, if you will. But the big benefit here, too, is, correct me if I’m wrong, you still get all the other benefits and features. So you get the confirmation.

Pete Martin (34:57):

That’s right.

Adam Torres (34:57):

You know what I mean? You scan something. That bucket of scans or however I would say that, you correct my word, my verbiage on that, that can’t disappear. That’s a record. Am I off on that or is that… Am I understanding-

Pete Martin (35:12):

Nope. Nope, you’re exactly right. The other analogy you can think about is probably from a citizen perspective, the most secure environment right now is an airport, right? So it’s like a boarding pass now that’s on your phone. I don’t see too many paper boarding passes anymore. I mean, there’s some, but not a lot, right? They let you through what’s supposed to be the tightest security in the world with electronic QR code on your phone, right? What’s more important, voting or getting on an airline? I’m not sure.

Adam Torres (35:45):

I love it. No, that’s great. It makes a lot of sense. For the record, I like my analogy better. It’s fun. I want people to think of voting as fun. You’re going to a concert, like vote, get out and vote. That’s the other underlying thing with [crosstalk 00:35:55].

Pete Martin (35:55):

Good for you. I do like it too. I’m a big music guy. So yeah, I like your analogy too, Adam.

Adam Torres (35:59):

If everybody hasn’t caught that, get out and vote.

Pete Martin (36:02):

Exactly. Exactly.

Adam Torres (36:04):

Oh, man. Well, Pete, I have to tell you, I’m a big fan of what you’re doing and what’s going on over at Votem. I look forward to the day when I can use your technology, and doing that, I’m going to remember this interview for sure and-

Pete Martin (36:17):

Thank you.

Adam Torres (36:17):

… this start. Really, it’s a big shift that you’re looking to make worldwide with this technology.

Pete Martin (36:23):

For sure.

Adam Torres (36:24):

That being said, great having you on the show. If somebody is listening to this or watching this and they want to learn more about Votem or to connect with you and your team, I mean, what’s the best way for them to get involved?

Pete Martin (36:36):

They can just go to our website, which is Votem.com, V-O-T-E-M.com. And there’s a couple places where they can subscribe. We need help, frankly, whether it’s writing letters to politicians, participating in pilots, contributing to what we call our voting protocol. We need a community to… Any mission you need a community, right? And so, this is one that we need to really be a community if we’re going to make this a big impact in the U.S. and around the world in anytime in the near future. So, Votem.com is the place to go to sign up to get involved.

Adam Torres (37:15):

Amazing. Well, Pete, again, thank you for coming on the show today. To the audience, as always, thank you for tuning in. Hope you got a lot of value out of this. Hope you learned a lot. If you did, don’t forget, hit that subscribe button. We definitely want you to be a return listener, return visitor. We have many more mission-based entrepreneurs and business owners and executives coming on the line and we don’t want you to miss anything. Pete, it really has been a pleasure. Big fan of Votem. Happy to have you on the show today.

Pete Martin (37:43):

Thanks, Adam. It was a really fun time and super informational. I appreciate the dialogue and the back and forth. Thanks for having me on the show.

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