West Virginia will try mobile voting for troops serving overseas

West Virginia to Offer Blockchain Voting Options for Midterms

One of the stated reasons for using the app is to make it easier for military personnel working overseas to cast their votes in the upcoming midterm elections.

President of the Election, Marian K. Schneider has since shut down the entire idea in the simplest manner possible. And the troops involved in it will continue to have the option of voting old-school with paper ballots. The app, as demonstrated to StateScoop, uses text messages and facial recognition to authenticate users before they're presented their ballots. This has been done to make participation easier for troops stationed overseas. At the time, Secretary of State Mac Warner said that the plan was to extend the effort statewide during the midterms in November if the pilot proved to be successful.

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. Upon approval, voters can then cast their vote. "People who have studied convenient ways to vote have found the only thing that increases turnout is same-day registration", Schneider said. The trial was limited to deployed military members, residents eligible to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, and their spouses and dependents. On its website, Voatz states the post-primary audit, which was conducted by a group of five cybersecurity firms, focused on the top security flaws listed by organizations including the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the Open Web Application Security Project. Commenting on the security of the voting app, the tech firm said that voter information and ballot data are encrypted and stored on a decentralized network.

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In a report dated August 6th, CNN stated that the app has been developed by a Boston-based company, Voatz. Asked if she thought mobile voting is a good idea, she said, "The short answer is no".

The blockchain-based mobile app will enable the USA military staff living outside the country to vote in November midterms, thus bypassing mailed absentee ballots.

The state's decision to pioneer mobile voting comes even as the United States grapples with Russian interference in its elections.

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