West Virginia to Offer Blockchain Voting Statewide in Midterm Elections

After a pilot conducted in May, West Virginia is expanding use of a blockchain voting app to all 55 of the state's counties.

AccessTimeIconAug 7, 2018 at 6:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:15 a.m. UTC

West Virginia is rolling out a blockchain-based mobile voting app to all of the state's 55 counties so that military personnel stationed abroad can more easily cast their ballots in the midterm elections.

CoinDesk previously reported that the state piloted the blockchain app in May for deployed military staff and their dependents from Harrison and Monongalia counties. Secretary of State Mac Warner said at the time that the plan was to extend the effort statewide during the midterms in November if the pilot proved to be successful.

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."

The app was developed and deployed by voting technology startup Voatz, which said the tech encodes and stores ballot data on a decentralized network, ensuring voting information is securely encrypted and quickly transacted.

That said, Warner's deputy chief of staff, Michael Queen, was quoted by CNN as saying that the state will leave the final decision to individual counties whether they will use the app come election time.

While it remains to be seen how the overall adoption will play out in the state, technology experts have already weighed in, with one calling the idea of mobile voting "horrific."

Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the network:

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

Ballot image via Shutterstock

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