Vote Via The Blockchain In West Virginia
Shortly after piloting a program letting those serving abroad vote on their mobile phones, the state is opening the program up to all 55 counties in time for the midterms
Back in March, Secretary of State Mac Warner announced a program that would let those in the military who are deployed abroad vote securely on their mobile phones. It was limited to two counties at the time however new plans point towards opening it up to all 55 counties come November, with those still preferring the paper ballot being able to use that instead.
The app is developed and maintained by Voatz, a tech startup based out of Brookline, Massachusetts. They say that the app is using blockchain technology which would make the data public, anonymous, verifiable and transparent. To vote, you’ll need an array of information including facial recognition, retinal scans, fingerprints and general ID, which in theory makes it sound tightly knit, but we’ll have to see how it plays out in the election. You can check out the whitepaper yourself, but here’s a snippet:
“West Virginia’s secure military mobile voting pilot is powered by blockchain technology. Blockchain-based mobile voting solutions can help meet many of the most urgent challenges in election administration by adding security, transparency, and trust to the system. Because blockchain is a distributed ledger of transactions, military mobile votes become immutable and tamper-proof once recorded.”
Mac Warner’s office concluded that after completing four audits, “including it’s cloud and blockchain infrastructure” they found no problems, according to CNN. However, as you’d expect some aren’t keen on the idea of voting on an electronic device, nevermind a smartphone. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology said in an email to CNN that it was a “horrific idea”
"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."
This comes at a time when election-meddling in the U.S is constantly being shown in the media by news outlets. Having a secure ballot system will go a long way to ensure that it’s kept to a minimum, so while paper-ballots have proved themselves in the past, maybe blockchain can prove itself for the future.