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

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

Michael Queen, a public education advocate and Warner's deputy chief of staff, noted that West Virginia's election administration office will let each county independently decide whether they want to use the voting app for the midterm elections in November. Once their registration is approved, the person will be able to cast their ballot using the Voatz app.

And despite the skepticism about mobile-based voting, West Virginia has been undertaking statewide reviews of its election security. The ballots themselves are sent anonymously and are recorded on the blockchain - nodes should check if the vote is authentic and made through Voatz.

Predictably, not everyone is happy about this - particularly in the wake of concerns about possible interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

Voatz is one of several companies exploring mobile balloting and recording votes on the blockchain. So far the technology has been limited to trial runs and private elections, such as balloting for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Secretary of State Mac Warner said four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, revealed no problems.

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.

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"Mobile voting is a horrific idea", according to Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

"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.

In a previous interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit Sawhney said that Voatz has been working to connect disenfranchised citizens and ensuring that the platform remains accessible to all, regardless of geography or socioeconomic status.

"All the risks and vulnerabilities present in other internet transactions will be present", Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting, told StateScoop Tuesday. She explicitly said, "The short answer is no".

Do you like the idea of voting via mobile app?

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