Blockchain Voting Mobile App Trialed by West Virginians
According to Slate, a report released Tuesday 25th September stated residents of West Virginia are now voting for midterm elections via a smartphone application build through blockchain tech. WV state residents living overseas are utilizing a specially designed mobile voting application called Voatz to cast their votes on the 21st of September. Unlike paper backed ballots, the blockchain project offers the ability for all relevant participants to take part in the voting process worldwide conveniently from the palm of their hands.
How Blockchain Can Revolutionize Traditional Voting
The blockchain app enables users based in twenty four registered countries to take part in absentee ballots directly from their smartphones. The app has particularly been useful for those stationed in military bases worldwide. Whereas traditional voting systems required all citizens to physically cast their ballots, blockchain tech offers an innovative and more inclusive approach to democracy.
A test run for the blockchain project took place in March geared towards facilitating secure yet remote voting submissions, initially accessible to preselected registered participants. The test proved successful ending on West Virginia's primary election day during the month of May.
According to CNN, Mac Warner, WV SecState, discussed positive results from the initial trial which assessed a variety of components pertaining to the digital voting platform. The state’s DCOFS, Michael Queen, noted every county within state borders is expected to participate in deciding if the application will be utilized for casting votes in November elections whilst retaining the choice to vote offline if desired.
Rising Concerns for Security
Although the application does offer several benefits to West Virginian residents, particularly those stationed around the world who wish to participate in local government voting rights, several issues regarding security has attracted criticism. The Center for Democracy and Technology’s Head, Joseph Hall, expressed his concern for the blockchain tool, claiming online voting is not only a bad idea but also extremely insecure. Hall explained that the devices, networks, and servers used to cast the votes do not offer guaranteed security particularly since the system lacks a backup of paper records.
However, supporters of the blockchain based initiative believe that with voting made easy, and accessible to all the benefits outweigh the criticisms. Bradley Tusk, founder of Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies who provided funding for the application stands by the deployment of blockchain technology for voting purposes. He agrees that overseas voting can help represent a true democracy for all who take part.