West Virginia to use blockchain mobile app for midterm elections

Overseas troops from the Mountain State to become first Americans to vote via a smartphone app, despite opposition to the technology's use


West Virginian state officials have announced that troops from the state currently serving in the military abroad will be the first Americans to vote via a smartphone app. The state expects to have the app, Voatz, ready for the 2018 midterm elections and will incorporate blockchain technology to guarantee security.

The app is one of a number of apps currently exploring the implementation of blockchain into the voting process. Until recently, it had only been utilized in privately held elections; however, earlier this year, Voatz was tested during the primary elections in two of the state's counties.

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The apps efficacy was tested on a number of its components such as its blockchain infrastructure and no issues were detected, according to the app's financial backers who conducted the audit, Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies.

West Virginia secretary of state Mac Warner, one of the app's biggest supporters within the state's government, commented, "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."

However, amidst the ongoing Russian interference worries and the fact that the app has not been vetted by state, other state officials are less enthusiastic about the decision.

Speaking to CNN, Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology called the move to mobile voting 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." He added.

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