American troops serving overseas will be able to cast their votes in West Virginia through a mobile voting platform based on blockchain technology in the federal elections in November 2018. There's a catch, though. "All the problems with internet voting are present in the app West Virginia is using".
But West Virginia election officials have been keen on their embrace of Voatz, which they discovered through an introduction from Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies, a NY venture-capital that invests in cryptocurrency platforms. This has been done to make participation easier for troops stationed overseas.
The move, which has been branded by some computer security experts as a "horrific idea" comes on the heels of a federal indictment that outlined Russian attempts to hack the United States voting infrastructure during the 2016 presidential race. As for how it works, users are advised to capture a photo of their government-issued ID and a selfie video of their face to ensure that the details being fed are accurate.More news: Woman tells police she's a 'white, clean girl' and shouldn't be arrested
Troops will still be able to cast paper ballots if they prefer.
Election security advocates are not reassured, saying that West Virginians who choose to cast their ballots over a phone app will be exposed to risks that their votes could be corrupted.
Warner and Voatz both insist that the app is secure.More news: Samsung Note 9 to have 512GB internal memory
So far, the constituency authority of West Virginia is going to limit the use of the mobile app largely to troops serving overseas saying that nobody else deserves the right to vote any more than the people that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for the sake of the U.S.
Representatives for the Center for Democracy and Technology as well as watchdog organization Verified Vote are against mobile voting as security on a number of points of exposure can't be guaranteed.
CoinDesk previously reported that the state piloted the blockchain app in May for deployed military staff and their dependents from Harrison and Monongalia counties. "It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our awful networks, to servers that are very hard to secure without a physical paper record of the vote".More news: Manchester United approach snubbed by Atletico Madrid star Diego Godin
While Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit S. Sawhney sees the state as a springboard to broader use of the voting app, tech experts are not much in favor of mobile voting.