West Virginia Secretary of Condition Reports Successful Blockchain Voting in 2018 Midterm Elections

The Secretary of Condition of the U.S. state of West Virginia Mac Warner noted a prosperous initial instance of distant blockchain voting in an formal announcement Nov. 15.

Warner said that in the 2018 midterm elections, 144 armed forces personnel stationed overseas from 24 counties were being equipped to forged their ballots on a mobile, blockchain-centered platform termed Voatz, incorporating:

“This is a initial-in-the-country project that permitted uniformed providers customers and overseas citizens to use a cellular application to cast a ballot secured by blockchain technological innovation.”

Voting for the normal elections on the platform started off in September, when absentee balloting opened in West Virginia.

The very first demo of the new platform took location in the course of the state’s principal elections in April. Blockchain-dependent ballots ended up then limited to a decide on team of voters these as deployed navy associates and other citizens eligible to vote absentee beneath the Uniformed and Abroad Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and their spouses and dependents.

The Voatz program was at first developed to address the challenge of very low voter participation amongst members of the armed service. In accordance to Symantec — the agency driving the Voatz system — only 368,516, or 18 % of the 2 million company customers and their family members serving overseas received ballots in 2016. After counting rejections and tardy ballots, only 11 percent of claimed votes were counted.

Even though Warner mentioned the project’s results, his deputy chief of staff members Michael Queen explained to the Washington Article that they have no strategies for increasing the program outside of navy staff serving overseas:

“Secretary Warner has under no circumstances and will hardly ever advocate that this is a answer for mainstream voting.”

According to knowledge from the United States Elections Job, West Virginia ranks 44th of 50 states in voter participation at 42.6 %.

Some industry experts have expressed issue around the security of mobile voting. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the Main Technologist at the Center for Democracy and Know-how, claimed:

“Mobile voting is a horrific notion. It is Internet voting on people’s horribly secured gadgets, around our awful networks, to servers that are extremely tricky to safe with no a actual physical paper record of the vote.”

Conversely, Bradley Tusk of Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies has encouraged cell voting, stating that it can switch out extra voters, and as a consequence, “democracy would get the job done a great deal better.” Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies aided fund the Voatz app’s growth.

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