West Virginia Set to Debut Blockchain Voting in Upcoming U.S. Midterms

Virginia Primary Election

Virginia Primary Election

Deployed troops from West Virginia can choose to cast their ballot through paper, per the usual process, or download and use the Boston-based app Voatz. 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. Once their registration is approved, the person will be able to cast their ballot using the Voatz app.

While the idea of creating a blockchain-based voting app seems to have rose due to Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S Elections, many do not seem thrilled about the idea. The ballots themselves are sent anonymously and are recorded on the blockchain - nodes should check if the vote is authentic and made through Voatz.

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

Mac Warner commented that "there is nobody that deserves the right to vote any more than the guys that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for us". By now, the technology has been limited to trial runs and private elections, such as balloting for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The app will predominantly be used by West Virginian military personnel serving overseas.

From late March to late May, Voatz was used to gather votes from two counties for the senate primaries in its first USA federal election.

Now, according to CNN, Warner's office claims that a round of four audits of the application's blockchain infrastructure was completed following the pilot phase and "revealed no problems". Hall described it as Internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over frightful networks to servers that are very hard to secure without a physical paper record of the vote.

Voatz co-founder Nimit Sawhney told StateScoop earlier this year his company's app will not function if it detects malware on a device.

When asked if mobile voting was a good idea, Marian K. Schneider, president of the election integrity watchdog group Verified Voting, said, "The short answer is no".

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

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

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