West Virginia residents living overseas have started casting their ballots this November’s elections using a mobile app that runs on blockchain encryption, state officials announced Monday. The votes that have come in so far are the first general-election ballots in the state’s experiment with a new form of voting technology that has drawn scrutiny from election-security analysts. Overseas voters started using the app for the November elections starting last Friday. The state first used the app, called Voatz, in two of its 55 counties during the May 8 primary election as a potential solution for deployed members of the U.S. military and civilians living abroad to cast ballots back home. Following four different independent audits verifying the votes submitted over the app, Secretary of State Mac Warner offered it to the rest of the state ahead of the Nov. 6 general election.
… But the prospect of casting votes with a mobile app has been roundly criticized by people who study election technology. Marian Schneider, the president of Verified Voting, told StateScoop last month that ballots submitted over the internet face the same threats as other online transactions. “All the problems with internet voting are present in the app West Virginia is using,” she said.
… Queen said state officials have heard the skeptics. In July, while the primary ballots cast on Voatz were being audited, Warner hosted a two-day election-security conference in Morgantown where he and Voatz’s developers pitched West Virginia’s county clerks on blockchain voting.
“We listened to all the criticism,” Queen said. “The criticism that means the most isn’t the blockchain argument as it is the voter verified paper backup.” He said Voatz produces a backup log by sending an email of each ballot to the relevant county clerk. “It comes through and we have a paper backup,” Queen said.
Full Article: Blockchain-enabled voting has started in West Virginia.