Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

West Virginia taps blockchain technology for mid-term elections

West Virginia to Offer Blockchain Voting Options for Midterms West Virginia taps blockchain technology for mid-term elections
Emmett Howard | 09 August, 2018, 20:42

West Virginians serving overseas will be the first in the country to cast federal election ballots using a smartphone app, a move created to make voting in November's election easier for troops living abroad. The novel move has sparked criticism from those wary of potential security issues, as the US continues to face online threats from those aiming to meddle in the upcoming midterms, but West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner says the system is secure.

"In regards to Russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States", Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsWest Virginia set to allow smartphone voting for those serving overseas GOP congressional candidate: Trump focused on providing "digital and physical" security to U.S. The mobile voting platform, Voatz, employes facial recognition software to make sure that each voter matches their government-issued identification. Following this verification, voters would be able to cast their ballot using the Voatz app. Ballots are anonymized and recorded on a blockchain.

Warner also clarified some misconception that the app was going to replace traditional balloting, by saying it was an option and troops can still "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.

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". 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.

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Warner and Voatz both insist that the app is secure.

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.

Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, even told CNN that it was a "horrific idea" because of the security vulnerabilities it opens up. "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".

Not everyone however, is supportive of mobile voting.

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