Voatz CEO Nimit Sawhney says criticism of its smartphone-based voting technology is “misinformation”

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Nimit Sawhney

BOSTON– Nimit Sawhney, co-founder and CEO of Voatz Inc., a Boston-based startup that has gone through the MassChallenge and Techstars Boston accelerators, says criticism of its smartphone-based voting technology is “misinformation”, according to media reports.

Boston Business Journal reported that Voatz is facing national criticism for its security practices as it prepares to bring its smartphone-based voting technology to the mid-term elections in West Virginia.

“The uproar began when CNN reported on Monday that West Virginia will use Voatz’s technology in November’s mid-term elections to allow soldiers stationed overseas to submit their absentee ballots via smartphone,” said Boston Business Journal. “West Virginia piloted the Voatz system in two counties during the primary elections in May, and West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner told CNN that the system passed four different technology audits.”

Boston Business Journal reported Mr. Sawhney as saying that the criticism of smartphone voting pilot in West Virginia is largely based on “misunderstanding” and “misinformation.”

Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN that mobile voting is a “horrific idea.” Others took to Twitter to criticize various parts of Voatz’s code and security protocol, according to Boston Business Journal.

“Sawhney said most of the criticism failed to take into account the fact that Voatz is only testing its technology with a small number of voters in a specific use case. Currently, citizens stationed abroad have the option to submit their absentee ballots via email or fax, both of which are vulnerable to hackers and invasions of privacy,” according to Boston Business Journal. “We’re not claiming that this is ready for millions of people to use. For the specific use case we are tackling we believe it’s a slightly better, more secure way to vote.”

The startup says its software has been used in the Massachusetts Democratic Party State Convention in Worcester and has handled more than 75,000 votes across 30 test elections, according to Boston Business Journal.

In February, Voatz, a mobile focused election voting and citizen engagement platform co-founded by Nimit Sawhne, raised over $2.2 million in seed round funding led by Medici Ventures with participation from the Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse Partners. Other notable investors in the round included Walt Winshall, Michael Dornbrook, Joe Caruso and members of the Walnut Ventures angels group.

, Co-founder and CEO of Voatz Inc., a Boston-based startup that has gone through the MassChallenge and Techstars Boston accelerators, says criticism of its smartphone-based voting technology is “misinformation”, according to media reports.

Boston Business Journal reported that Voatz is facing national criticism for its security practices as it prepares to bring its smartphone-based voting technology to the mid-term elections in West Virginia.

“The uproar began when CNN reported on Monday that West Virginia will use Voatz’s technology in November’s mid-term elections to allow soldiers stationed overseas to submit their absentee ballots via smartphone,” said Boston Business Journal. “West Virginia piloted the Voatz system in two counties during the primary elections in May, and West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner told CNN that the system passed four different technology audits.”

Boston Business Journal reported Mr. Sawhney as saying that the criticism of smartphone voting pilot in West Virginia is largely based on “misunderstanding” and “misinformation.”
Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN that mobile voting is a “horrific idea.” Others took to Twitter to criticize various parts of Voatz’s code and security protocol, according to Boston Business Journal.

“Sawhney said most of the criticism failed to take into account the fact that Voatz is only testing its technology with a small number of voters in a specific use case. Currently, citizens stationed abroad have the option to submit their absentee ballots via email or fax, both of which are vulnerable to hackers and invasions of privacy,” according to Boston Business Journal. “We’re not claiming that this is ready for millions of people to use. For the specific use case we are tackling we believe it’s a slightly better, more secure way to vote.”

The startup says its software has been used in the Massachusetts Democratic Party State Convention in Worcester and has handled more than 75,000 votes across 30 test elections, according to Boston Business Journal.

In February, Voatz, a mobile focused election voting and citizen engagement platform co-founded by Nimit Sawhne, raised over $2.2 million in seed round funding led by Medici Ventures with participation from the Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse Partners. Other notable investors in the round included Walt Winshall, Michael Dornbrook, Joe Caruso and members of the Walnut Ventures angels group.

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