Hi-Tech

West Virginia Offers Blockchain Voting Option for Midterm Elections

West Virginia Offers Blockchain Voting Option for Midterm Elections

USA troops serving overseas will be able to use a smartphone application based on blockchain technology for casting federal election ballots in West Virginia this November. West Virginia's Secretary of State Mac Warner, stated of the initiative:"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."The service will be provided by a company called Voatz".

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 Federal Voting Assistance Program, a Pentagon initiative aimed at helping deployed troops and civilian expats send ballots back home, estimated that only 4 percent of 2.6 million eligible overseas voters participated in the 2014 midterm election, including 334 West Virginians. Using its facial recognition software, Voatz will ensure that the photo and video are of the same person. Once approved, voters can cast their ballot using the Voatz app. Each county within the state will though make the final decision whether to use the app.

State officials have already tested the platform in a couple of counties during the primaries that took place earlier in the year.

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". The rollout will limit the use of the Voatz app to troops serving overseas.

As you can imagine, there are some dissenting voices out there, and one came in the form of Joseph Lorenzo Hall, who is the chief technologist at the Centre for Democracy and Technology who told CNN that "Mobile voting is a horrific idea".




The digital voting process will serve as an alternative to traditional mailed absentee ballots. 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 is a Boston-based startup that combines internet-based voting with blockchain technology.

While Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit S. Sawhney sees the state as a springboard to broader use of the voting app, tech experts are not much in favor of mobile voting.

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


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