West Virginia to Experiment With Mobile-Phone Voting by Overseas Troops

Ceria Alfonso
Agosto 9, 2018

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. There's a catch, though.

Political Science lecturer at MIT, Charles Stewart III, commented that he doesn't quite believe that blockchain voting via the Voatz app is ready for "prime time", but he believes that West Virginia deserves credit for being "the bold ones" who have stepped up and made the first move. This has been done to make participation easier for troops stationed overseas. U.S intelligence agencies concluded that in the 2016 election, Russian hackers attempted to hack the voting systems in 21 states, and were successful at accessing voter data in at least one, IL (however, there's so far been no evidence the data was altered or votes were changed).

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and Voatz, the Boston-based company which developed the app, are confident that the system is secure. Once approved, voters will be able to cast their votes, which are then recorded on the blockchain, ensuring the information is encrypted securely.

Warner told CNN he is not calling for the replacement of traditional balloting, and said troops can cast paper ballots if they like. The ballots themselves are sent anonymously and are recorded on the blockchain - nodes should check if the vote is authentic and made through Voatz. 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.

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Michael L. Queen, Warner's deputy chief of staff, told CNN that officials would allow each county to decide whether they will use the app in the upcoming elections.

"Mobile voting is a horrific idea".

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. 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.

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