Officials from West Virginia are bringing a blockchain-based mobile voting app to all 55 counties in the state in a move aimed to allow absentee voters in the military to cast ballots remotely in the midterm election.
CoinDesk previously reported that the state piloted the blockchain app in May that allowed deployed military personnel and their dependents from Harrison and Monongalia counties to cast ballots in the primary election.
Mac Warner, West Virginia’s Secretary of State, said at the time that the plan was to extend the effort statewide during the midterm general election in November if the pilot proves to be successful.
And CNN reported on Monday that Warner’s office claimed that a round of four audits of the application’s blockchain infrastructure was completed following the pilot phase and “revealed no problems.”
The app is developed and deployed by voting technology startup Voatz, which said the tech encodes and stores data of ballots via a decentralized network in a bid to ensure voting information is encrypted and transacted more promptly.
That said, Warner’s deputy chief of staff Michael Queen was quoted by CNN saying that the state will leave the final decision to individual counties whether they will use the nascent tech.
While it remains to be seen how the overall adoption will play out in West Virginia ahead of the November election, technology experts already weighed in, calling the idea of mobile voting to be “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