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

Why voting in the US is so hard

In a report shared by Coin Desk, it appears that West Virginia is working on a mobile app that would serve as a voting system in time for midterm elections.

Earlier in March, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner announced the launch of a secure military mobile voting solution for the May 8th Primary Election.

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 Boston-based company is set to partner with the state of West Virginia to use its legacy app in the upcoming Federal elections in November.

The Voatz mobile app employs facial recognition to match the face of the voter to the person's photo on their government-issued identification.

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. The votes cast on the platform are anonymized and recorded on the blockchain.

Warner told CNN he is not calling for the replacement of traditional balloting, and said troops can cast paper ballots if they like. However, election officials have left a final decision on its use in November up to each county in the state.

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During its pilot phase, the application's software went through four different audits, including testing of its blockchain infrastructure.

One of the stated reasons for using the app is to make it easier for military personnel working overseas to cast their votes in the upcoming midterm elections.

While critics have been vocal in their condemnation of the technology, West Virginia seems intent on trying out the plan.

However, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology Joseph Lorenzo Hall told CNN that "mobile voting is a horrific idea", and the president of the election integrity watchdog group Verified Voting, Marian K. Schneider, added that mobile voting could create "far more opportunities for hacking and meddling,".

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

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