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San Francisco Ready for Voting Upgrade

It appears that San Francisco is ready for a voting upgrade. A recent op-ed in the San Francisco Examiner implores the city to move to an end-to-end verifiable voting system. The authors express concern about purchasing another expensive and private contract for outdated voting machines. We have a proposal: Follow My Vote!

“San Francisco is due for a new voting system. For years, we have relied on private vendor contracts with expensive licensing fees for software that is highly secretive. Instead of taking on another one of these “black box” contracts, San Francisco has an opportunity to lead the country and develop our own fully transparent voting system.”

Digital Paper Trail

The authors suggest, “It would be a paper-ballot system using open-source software running on commercial, off-the-shelf hardware.” Follow My Vote already uses open-source code. This is fundamental to having an end-to-end verifiable election. If people cannot view the code being used, voter privacy and security could be compromised. Further, San Francisco would not need to buy any commercial hardware. Since we are 100 percent online, voters can use their current devices. This would result in cost-savings for the city.


“San Francisco’s process for upgrading its voting machines has always been to purchase a proprietary system from one of a few voting machine companies.”

“Each year, we have to pay high licensing fees for software that is both outdated and completely secret.”

Elections cost money. There will never be a way to completely eliminate all costs. However, we can increase efficiency through the use of online voting. In a study we did at Follow My Vote, states are spending roughly $5 per ballot. There would be no more need for IT maintenance and scrapping for used parts when voting machines fail. Cost savings abound when we switch to online voting.


The authors say they do not want to deal with any more “black box” contracts. Since we use blockchain technology, voters casts their vote which is stored on the blockchain. He or she can then audit their own ballot and all others. For more information, view the infographic below and visit our blockchain voting page.

End to End Verified Blockchain Voting - Follow My Vote


It is no surprise that conducting elections on paper, where millions participate, can have severe environmental impacts. In the U.S., roughly 126 million American voted in 2012. Many states even require that a paper ballot be printed for every registered voter. This leaves millions of unused ballots wasted.

Rough estimates indicate:

  • 1,185 tons of wood used
  • 10,950,000 gallons of water consumed
  • 17,250 million BTUs of energy used
  • 981,800 pounds of solid waste produced

If San Francisco really wants to take a stand for the environment, they should switch to online voting where electricity is already being used anyway.

At Follow My Vote, we are developing an open source, end-to-end verifiable voting system. Vote where you count, and sign up below for the 2016 Parallel Presidential Election. Help us make history in 2016.

About the author: Tyler Molihan is a Marketing Intern at Follow My Vote. He hopes to increase awareness about the benefits of online voting systems.



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