West Virginia to use blockchain voting in 2018 midterm elections

Aug 8, 2018

Blockchain is undoubtedly the revolutionary technology of the 21st century. So much so, the technology now finds its own religion, let alone other conventional applications. Back in March, Sierra Leone became the first country in the world to conduct blockchain verified elections. A Swiss-based company, Agora provided the country with the blockchain technology that enabled them to log and verify each paper ballot digitally after voting.

Now, West Virginia is aiming to go one step ahead with the use of blockchain for voting. The US State plans to take voting into the technological future by developing a blockchain-based smartphone app for voting.


Blockchain-based smartphone app for voting

In association with a Boston-based voting technology startup, Voatz, West Virginia piloted a blockchain-based voting app in May in Harrison and Monongalia counties. The aim was to enable American troops serving overseas to cast their votes. Now, upon the successful completion of the pilot phase, which included four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, the app is ready to be rolled-out. Secretary of State, Mac Warner's office told CNN:

"There is nobody that deserves the right to vote any more than the guys that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for us," Warner said.



The app will use facial recognition software to match each user’s “selfie-style video of their face” to their government-issued ID. So, to use the app, voters will have to submit a photo of their government-issued ID, and a selfie video. The company's facial recognition technology will ensure that the person voting in the selfie video matches the ID. Their tech encodes and stores ballot data on a decentralized network, ensuring voting information is securely encrypted and quickly transacted, Voatz claims.

The app is ready to be deployed across the state's 55 counties. However, it's up to the individual counties to decide whether they will use the app in the 2018 midterm elections. The option of paper ballot will still exist if the troops prefer to use.


Obviously, not everyone shares the same enthusiasm, with some people saying "mobile voting is a horrific idea". How do you feel about it? Tell us in the comments below.

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