Statewide Blockchain-Based Voting To Be Offered For West Virginia's November Elections

West Virginia will try mobile voting for troops serving abroad

West Virginia to pioneer mobile phone voting in midterm elections

West Virginian military personnel located overseas would be able to cast their ballots in the midterm federal election, thanks to a blockchain-based smartphone app. Mac Warner, West Virginia's secretary of state, had said that he would consider using the voting app throughout the state if its pilot version worked effectively in both counties. 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. The app then uses facial recognition technology to make sure the registered voter is, in fact, the same person casting their ballot. Commenting on the security of the voting app, the tech firm said that voter information and ballot data are encrypted and stored on a decentralized network. The ballots themselves are sent anonymously and are recorded on the blockchain - nodes should check if the vote is authentic and made through Voatz.

Warner told CNN he is not calling for the replacement of traditional balloting, and said troops can cast paper ballots if they like.

According to CNN Tech, West Virginia plans to deploy the app only for troops serving overseas.

Warner's office also claimed in the report that "four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, revealed no problems".

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Each county will have the final decision on whether to use the app, said Michael Queen, Warner's deputy chief of staff. But Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit S. Sawhney sees the state as a springboard to broader use of the technology.

"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", Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN. 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.

Charles Stewart III, a political scientist at MIT, credits West Virginia for being bold enough to trial the technology, even though he doesn't yet believe the Voatz app is ready for "prime time".

Not everyone however, is supportive of mobile voting.

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