West Virginia to Offer Blockchain Voting Statewide in November Elections

09 August, 2018, 20:45 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • West Virginia

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.

The app was developed and deployed by voting technology startup Voatz, which said the tech encodes and stores ballot data on a decentralized network, ensuring voting information is securely encrypted and quickly transacted. It will be limited to service personnel living overseas, CNN noted.

Warner was quick to point out that he's not looking to replace traditional voting methods with the blockchain voting app, but sees it as a viable alternative for those who wish to use it.

West Virginia had previously piloted Voatz's mobile blockchain voting platform in Harrison and Monongalia counties in the primary election this spring.

After a successful pilot launched in March, West Virginia has made a decision to allow its overseas troops to cast their ballot through the smartphone application Voatz.

However, technology experts are not much in favor of mobile voting and have even called it a "horrific idea".

Not everyone shares Warner's enthusiasm.

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Representatives for the Center for Democracy and Technology as well as watchdog organization Verified Vote are against mobile voting as security on a number of points of exposure can't be guaranteed. Hall described it as Internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over terrible networks to servers that are very hard to secure without a physical paper record of the vote.

Voatz is a pioneer in the blockchain voting and mobile balloting niche.

"There's no way to check people don't have malware in the phones they're using", she said. Like Hall, Schneider expressed concern that changes to a ballot could occur during transit.

Warner is no neophyte to the need for security, and his efforts to secure the state's voting infrastructure earned praise last month from Matthew Masterson, a senior Department of Homeland Security official.

United States intelligence agencies have recently warned of possible Russian attempts to interfere with the upcoming midterm elections.

"There is something to be said sometimes for small-scale pilots where we can learn the trade-offs", he remarked.

November will provide just such a test. Supporters and skeptics of mobile voting will be watching closely.

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