In an age when almost any good or service can be ordered using a mobile device, it is archaic that the vast majority of election voting is performed on local machines statically tied to a fixed location.
To get a sense of the “physical effort” that currently goes into conducting a national election, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (www.eac.gov) released these statistics on July 1st, 2015;
In 2014, States operated 178,636 precincts and over 114,000 physical polling places. States employed almost 731,000 poll workers on Election Day.
Of the more than 81 million people who turned out to vote in 2014, over 60% voted at the polls, 17.5% voted a domestic absentee ballot, and 10.7% voted early (prior to Election Day)
States reported counting 98.2% of the domestic absentee ballots submitted. The most common reason for absentee ballot rejection was a missed deadline for returning the ballot, followed by invalid signatures.
This is a lot of human effort and expense for the State’s and ultimately taxpayers. As with virtually every other industry, technology can make this process significantly better, more effective and less expensive for everyone.
Online elections (via the web) have taken place successfully in four countries. Norway, Sweden, Canada, and Estonia have all held successful elections with online voting but many projects have been shut down due to security concerns. Although the votes were ratified, external election overseers were concerned about expanding these systems due to security and fraud concerns. So even though there has been a lot of progress with voting technology, there is still a lot of work to be done which is why Votem decided to launch this Mobile Voting Challenge.
The Challenge is designed to address some of the current shortcomings of mobile technology as we apply it to voting systems. According to Founder & CEO, Pete Martin, “we chose an open-innovation method to attract the best minds in the world to help us solve some unique challenges in three specific areas;
Best in class, “mass hack proof” mobile security,
Reliable mobile identification and authentication (without sacrificing privacy / anonymity to the voter),
100% accuracy of cast votes along with end-to-end verifiability.
InnoCentive’s open innovation platform has been proven to solve seemingly ‘impossible’ problems.
InnoCentive acts as a facilitator, providing a platform that helps ‘Seekers’ such as Votem, connect with ‘Solvers’ to solve specific technical issues. Since 2001, more than 355,000+ creative & diverse minds from nearly 200 countries have registered as Solvers. More than 2,000 challenges have been posted that resulted in 1,500 successful solutions. InnoCentive boasts an 85% success rate on solving problems that had baffled the best of the best which is why it has attracted a large and diverse set of organizations as Seekers, including Eli Lilly, Procter & Gamble (PG), Avery Dennison (AVY), Janssen, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
“I founded Votem because I believe that most people truly do care about what happens in their government and do want to make a difference, but the current process makes it more difficult to do so. If we can make it easier, safer and more secure for citizens around the world, I am confident that more people will step-up and participate by casting their vote more often.” – Pete Martin
For further details on the Challenge’s exact criteria and to register and apply, please visit https://www.omnicompete.com/mobilevoting.html.