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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Mobile voting, the mission of a Boston-based startup called Voatz, could be the answer to a problem in U.S. politics: Many Americans don't vote.

Driving the news: Even in the hotly-contested 2016 presidential race, only 58% of eligible voters showed up. Some of that may be apathy, but some is certainly the inconvenience of asking working adults to visit polling places on weekdays; particularly when some urban locations have lines that would make Walt Disney blush.

Where it stands: On Thursday, Voatz raised $7 million in Series A funding co-led by Medici Ventures and Techstars. It ran pilot tests last year in West Virginia, whereby overseas military could vote in real elections via smartphone rather than via paper mail. It also just completed a pilot in Denver's municipal elections, including both the regular election and a run-off.

  • It also opened itself up to a "citizen's audit" for the Denver elections — an important step given widespread security concerns about such a system.
  • Proceeds will be used, in part, to expand the technology to work with the disability community (i.e., people who have physical difficulty getting to polling locations).

Yes, but: CEO Nimit Sawhney acknowledges that this is really the pregame, not even early innings. The funding should last 18 months, and even best-case scenarios don't put smartphone voting in electoral gen-pop until 2024 or 2026. He says there are more jurisdictions signed up for tests over the next year.

My thought bubble: Honestly, this is one we should all be rooting for. No idea if Voatz's technology, which combines blockchain ledger verification with facial recognition, is how we ultimately get there. But at least it's trying to solve a real problem.

Go deeper: Pro Rata Podcast on mobile voting

Go deeper

Updated 18 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.

In photos: Biden visits collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh

President Biden and the Mayor of Pittsburgh Ed Gainey visit the scene of the Forbes Avenue Bridge collapse over Fern Hollow Creek in Frick Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 28, 2022. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday visited the site of the collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh.

Driving the news: "I’ve been coming to Pittsburgh a long time,” Biden said, adding that there are more bridges than any other city in the world. "And we’re going to fix them all," he said, per a White House pool reporter.