For the upcoming federal elections in November 2018, American troops currently serving overseas will still be able to cast their votes in West Virginia using mobile application that is based in Blockchain technology.
The application, dubbed “Voatz”, will make use of face recognition algorithms match selfies of the user to their government-issued IDs, according to reports. Once approval is received, the users will be able to cast their votes through the app. The ballots will then be made anonymous and stored on the Blockchain.
Voatz is a firm from Boston, and aims to integrate internet-based voting with Blockchain technology. This platform was made to encourage more and more citizens to vote and deal with low participation.
Authorities ran a pilot of the app from overseas troops and their dependents in Harrison and Monongalia counties earlier this year, and the results were positive.
Secretary of State of West Virginia Mac Werner also states in the official report that “four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, revealed no problems.”
Co-founder and CEO of Voatz Nimit Sawhney had explained in an interview that the application aims to bring together all disenfranchised citizens, and would remain accessible to everyone irrespective of geography or social or economic status.
“Aside from major government-issued IDs such as driver’s licenses, state IDs or passports, Voatz has experience using the 10 different kinds of official documents for the purposes of verifying a voter’s identity,”
While there has been considerable enthusiasm regarding the usage of Blockchain for voting, a number of experts still remain critical to the idea.
The chief technologist of the Centre for Democracy and Technology Joseph Lorenzo Hall has said that he believes this to be “horrible” move, while the president of Verified Voting Mark Schneider simply said “no” when asked if voting through mobile phones would be a good idea, saying that it creates greater opportunities for meddling and hacking.
Werner’s deputy chief of staff Michael L. Queen told reporters that they will allow each county to individually decide if they would like to use the app for the upcoming elections.