Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

West Virginia taps blockchain technology for mid-term elections

West Virginia taps blockchain technology for mid-term elections

West Virginia is set to debut a blockchain-based voting platform for the upcoming November midterm elections in the United States.

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". Each county within the state will though make the final decision whether to use the app. They can only cast their ballot once the information is uploaded and approved. Availability will be limited "largely" to troops serving overseas as an alternative to mailed absentee ballots, and individual counties can decide whether or not to participate.

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.

From late March to late May, Voatz was used to gather votes from two counties for the senate primaries in its first U.S. federal election. Mobile voting will be limited to troops serving overseas but state officials will be leaving the final decision on using this app in November to each county. Key issues are the lack of both automatic elections registration and voting in the early morning hours (in as many as 13 states) and the fact that elections take place on Tuesdays.

Voatz, the Boston-based company that developed the app, uses facial recognition software to compare the government ID with the selfie-style video to ensure it is the same person.


Not everyone shares Warner's enthusiasm.

"It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our awful 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.

"It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our terrible networks, to servers that are very hard to secure without a physical paper record of the vote", Hall said.

Marian K. Schneider, president of the election integrity watchdog group Verified Voting, was even more blunt. Asked if she thought mobile voting is a good idea, she said, "The short answer is no". "There is something to be said sometimes for small scale pilots where we can learn the trade-offs", he said.

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