Utah County voting app has security concerns, according to MIT

Feb 18, 2020, 11:11 AM
Morgan County coin toss...
The Primary Election for District 3 in Morgan County will likely be determined by a toss of a coin! (Image credit: Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — A Utah County voting app is being used again this year, despite security concerns.

The mobile app allows military personnel stationed overseas, as well as residents with disabilities, to vote with their phones.

Utah County was one of just a few counties in the country to pilot the app “Voatz” last year.

The app uses facial recognition technology to allow a resident to vote without submitting a ballot by mail or in person.

Security concerns

Despite the perceived convenience, the Utah County voting app has come under fire after a recent publication from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A team of researchers published a paper last week which concluded the app is “vulnerable to a number of attacks that could violate election integrity.” Additionally, they are recommending that “any near-future plans to use this app for high-stakes elections be abandoned.”

Just weeks away from Super Tuesday voting, Utah County Clerk Amelia Powers Gardner says she isn’t worried.

Flawed research?

Gardner says she is not concerned about the MIT research.

“We looked at their findings and we looked at our system, and we’re not really concerned,” she said.

They were using a version of the app that is 27 versions old,” she told the Daily Herald. “If someone trying to vote in our election tried to use that version of the app, they would get an error message and they would get told that they needed to update their app before they could cast their vote.”

She adds that federal law requires overseas military personnel and residents with physical disabilities to be given additional voting options.

Gardner says alternative options, such as voting by email, wouldn’t be better options.

“[The app doesn’t] pose any greater of a risk than email would,” she said. “As of right now, we feel totally comfortable continuing to use it. And we will continue to do complete audits of the system.”

Today’s Top Stories

Your Voice, Your Vote

ballot count amendments utah...
Lindsay Aerts

County clerks report more poll watchers, scrutiny ahead of Utah primary

Ahead of the 2022 Utah Primary election, clerks Salt Lake and Utah counties are reporting more poll watchers are serving as watchdogs.
4 months ago
Utahns could get a tax cut....

Utah Senate passes a tax cut for Utahns, Gov. Cox says he will sign it

The Utah Senate just unanimously passed a bill, giving Utahns a big tax cut. People in the state could see $193 million back in taxes.
8 months ago
utah poll unfavorable to president biden...
Mary Richards

New poll shows low favorability in Utah for President Biden

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 45% of Utah residents have a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden, while 3% aren’t sure.
2 years ago
Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certifica...

Biden win confirmed after violent pro-Trump protestors storms US Capitol

Congress has confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner, hours after violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
2 years ago
president trump trial...
ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN Associated Press

Trump says his term is ending, transition will be orderly

President Donald Trump says there will be an “orderly transition on January 20th” now that Congress has concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
2 years ago
(Some of the flags and signs outside the Utah State Capitol.  Credit: Paul Nelson)...
Paul Nelson

Hundreds participate in “Stop The Steal” rally at Utah State Capitol

Hundreds of President Trump’s supporters in Utah gather on the Capitol grounds to protest what they call the stealing of the presidential election. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Utah County voting app has security concerns, according to MIT