West Virginia to pioneer mobile phone voting in midterm elections

09 August, 2018, 20:46 | Author: Patty Hardy
  • West Virginia

The software underlying the app was developed by technology startup Voatz that has recently received about $2.4 million in funding.

News surrounding the blockchain-based voting app first surfaced in May, where the Secretary of State, Mac Warner unveiled that given all the pilot phases are successful, then the voting app will be used during the midterms, which typically occurs during the month of November. Those who will use this app to vote will first have to register by taking a photo of their government-issued identification in addition to a selfie-style video of their face which will be uploaded through the app.

It is not a replacement for traditional voting methods and troops will still be allowed to cast paper absentee ballots, Warner said.

But the use of smartphone-, app-, and blockchain-based voting prompts concerns, because these technologies may not be consistent with the recommended way to secure an election.

The state's decision to pioneer mobile voting comes even as the United States grapples with Russian interference in its elections.

Voatz is one of several companies exploring mobile balloting and recording votes on the blockchain.

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So far, the constituency authority of West Virginia is going to limit the use of the mobile app largely to troops serving overseas saying that nobody else deserves the right to vote any more than the people that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for the sake of the U.S.

Tests were run on the Voatz blockchain voting application in two counties earlier this year during the primary election, and after four audits of various components that included its blockchain and cloud infrastructure, it was revealed that no problems were found. "It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our frightful networks, to servers that are very hard to secure without a physical paper record of the vote". The percentage might be different as of March this year, but given the small number of West Virginians serving overseas, the new voting system will hardly benefit a large number of people.

"All the risks and vulnerabilities present in other internet transactions will be present", Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting, told StateScoop Tuesday.

"There's no way to check people don't have malware in the phones they're using", she said.

Do you like the idea of voting via mobile app?

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