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West Virginia Offers Mobile Voting for Troops Abroad This November

09 August 2018

The U.S. state of West Virginia has pioneered to give blockchain a chance to empower a voting app designed exclusively for troops serving overseas. Warner's office said four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, revealed no problems.

Each county will have the final decision on whether to use the app, said Michael Queen, Warner's deputy chief of staff.

So far, the constituency authority of West Virginia is going to limit the use of the mobile app largely to troops serving overseas saying that nobody else deserves the right to vote any more than the people that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for the sake of the U.S.

Warner also clarified some misconception that the app was going to replace traditional balloting, by saying it was an option and troops can still "cast paper ballots if they like". The percentage might be different as of March this year, but given the small number of West Virginians serving overseas, the new voting system will hardly benefit a large number of people. And the troops involved in it will continue to have the option of voting old-school with paper ballots.

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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.

Claiming that the "attack area is much broader" using the blockchain voting app, she believes it offers more opportunities for hacking and interference.

Not everyone shares Warner's enthusiasm.

While it remains to be seen how the overall adoption will play out in the state, technology experts have already weighed in, with one calling the idea of mobile voting "horrific".

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"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.

When asked if mobile voting was a good idea, Marian K. Schneider, president of the election integrity watchdog group Verified Voting, said, "The short answer is no".

November will provide just such a test. Supporters and skeptics of mobile voting will be watching closely.

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West Virginia Offers Mobile Voting for Troops Abroad This November