West Virginia To Allow Mid-Term Voting Via Blockchain App

The government of West Virginia opted to use an app from Boston-based company Voatz to allow its troops serving abroad to cast ballot votes at this year's mid-terms directly from their smartphones. The state administration and Voatz recently presented the app as a highly secure solution for voting that requires users to register with a photo of government-issued identification and a video of their face so as to prevent misuse. The mobile tool employs a proprietary facial recognition service that will verify one's identity and allow users to cast their ballot votes once they're approved.

The app verifies all voting information via a blockchain platform, essentially a digital ledger that's simultaneously anonymized and publicly accessible, being constantly verified by every connected client, as is the case with cryptocurrency transactions. The move is one of the earliest votes of confidence any state administration gave to the blockchain technology as a whole, with more similar applications being expected to be pursued by government officials in the future. The U.S. may be especially interested in spearheading the transition to blockchain-based voting moving forward in the context of the Russian election meddling discovered during the 2016 presidential election that already resulted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicting 25 individuals and three firms from the transcontinental country over attempts to interfere with the American democratic process, though it's still unclear how successful they were in their efforts to do so.

It's presently unclear whether West Virginia has any plans to push for expanding the availability of Voatz-powered ballot casting to citizens that aren't part of its troops deployed abroad, i.e. make its domestic adoption mandatory. The solution itself has already been tested in two counties during this year's primaries, with the experiment being funded by Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies, but the decision whether to use the app for the 2018 mid-terms will be left to individual county administrations, Secretary of State Mac Warner said. The most important U.S. elections of the year are taking place on November 6.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]