West Virginia to test mobile phone voting in midterm elections

Why voting in the US is so hard

West Virginia will offer troops serving overseas a chance to vote using a mobile app in November.

Predictably, not everyone is happy about this - particularly in the wake of concerns about possible interference in the 2016 presidential elections. U.S intelligence agencies concluded that in the 2016 election, Russian hackers attempted to hack the voting systems in 21 states, and were successful at accessing voter data in at least one, IL (however, there's so far been no evidence the data was altered or votes were changed). The blockchain-based app requires users to register by taking a photo of their government-issued ID and a selfie-style video of their face. Commenting on the security of the voting app, the tech firm said that voter information and ballot data are encrypted and stored on a decentralized network.

The ballots will be anonymized and recorded on a public digital ledger that's commonly known as the blockchain.

Voatz is one of several companies exploring mobile balloting and recording votes on the blockchain. This will only be limited to West Virginians that are serving overseas.

"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", said Warner of the troops invited to use the mobile process, according to CNN.

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CoinDesk previously reported that the state piloted the blockchain app in May for deployed military staff and their dependents from Harrison and Monongalia counties.

Warner's office also claimed in the report that "four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, revealed no problems". However, election officials have left a final decision on its use in November up to each county in the state. And the troops involved in it will continue to have the option of voting old-school with paper ballots.

Not everyone shares his enthusiasm.

However, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology Joseph Lorenzo Hall told CNN that "mobile voting is a horrific idea", and the president of the election integrity watchdog group Verified Voting, Marian K. Schneider, added that mobile voting could create "far more opportunities for hacking and meddling,".

"It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our disgusting networks, to servers that are very hard to secure without a physical paper record of the vote", Hall said.

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