Blockchain-based Mobile Voting App Rolled Out in US State

Donna Miller
August 9, 2018

From late March to late May, Voatz was used to gather votes from two counties for the senate primaries in its first United States federal election.

Boston-based Voatz has been piloting its ballot app with smaller non-government elections around the country and in local government elections in the local area.

Marian K. Schneider, president of the watchdog group Verified Voting, also rejected the idea, anxious by potential hacks and the lack of a paper trail of the vote.

Warner was quick to point out that he's not looking to replace traditional voting methods with the blockchain voting app, but sees it as a viable alternative for those who wish to use it. The app, as demonstrated to StateScoop, uses text messages and facial recognition to authenticate users before they're presented their ballots. The move will allow troops overseas to participate in the polls.

After a successful pilot launched in March, West Virginia has chose to allow its overseas troops to cast their ballot through the smartphone application Voatz. At the time, Secretary of State Mac Warner said that the plan was to extend the effort statewide during the midterms in November if the pilot proved to be successful.

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Schneider also questioned Voatz's security claims, saying "there's no way" for outside analysts to tell if the app works properly. Following this verification, voters would be able to cast their ballot using the Voatz app.

In a previous interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit Sawhney said that Voatz has been working to connect disenfranchised citizens and ensuring that the platform remains accessible to all, regardless of geography or socioeconomic status.

West Virginia is planning to roll out a blockchain voting app for its midterm elections in November.

"There's no way to check people don't have malware in the phones they're using", she said. Clerks from almost all 55 of the state's counties gathered last month at a Morgantown hotel for a two-day cybersecurity training conference. Key issues are the lack of both automatic elections registration and voting in the early morning hours (in as many as 13 states) and the fact that elections take place on Tuesdays.

Marian K. Schneider, president of the election integrity watchdog group Verified Voting, was even more blunt.

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