Mac Warner, the Secretary of State of the U.S. state of West Virginia, has reported that success has been recorded in the remote blockchain voting at its first attempt. Mac revealed that, from 24 different counties, 144 military personnel stationed overseas experienced no difficulty in casting their ballots on a mobile, blockchain-based platform called Voatz in the 2018 midterm elections.
The Secretary of State of the U.S. state of West Virginia further stated that;
“This is a first-in-the-nation project that allowed uniformed services members and overseas citizens to use a mobile application to cast a ballot secured by blockchain technology.”
Using the Blockchain Voting for General Elections
In Early September, the voting for the general elections on the blockchain based platform started when absentee balloting opened in West Virginia. The start of the trials for Voatz began in April during the state’s primary elections. Blockchain-based ballots were then limited to a certain set of voters like deployed military members and other citizens eligible to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Immediate family such as partners and dependents to the set of voters were also allowed to vote.
Matters concerning the issue of low voter participation among the military led to the reason the blockchain based voting system was established. The firm behind Voatz, Symantec, only 368,516, or 18 percent of the 2 million service members and their families serving overseas received ballots in 2016. 11 percent of votes were counted after counting the rejection and tardy ballots.
The Future of Blockchain-Based Mobile Voting
The Secretary of State of the U.S. state indicated that the project was a big success. His deputy chief of staff, Michael Queen, however, told the Washington Post that the blockchain based voting wouldn’t extend past military personnel serving overseas. He stated that;
“Secretary Warner has never and will never advocate that this is a solution for mainstream voting.”
Information from the United States Elections Project shows the low level of participation in voting West Virginia has in the US, ranking at the 44th position out of 50 states with the involvement at 42.6 percent.
On the issue of voting through mobiles, certain technological experts have expressed concern about its safety and reliability. The issue of mobile phone security and immutability poses a huge problem to the world of voting. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the Chief Technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, stated that;
“Mobile voting is a horrific idea. It’s Internet voting on people’s horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote.”
On the other hand, Bradley Tusk of Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies stated that with the introduction of mobile voting, there will inevitably be higher participation among the US population, and democracy could work a lot better with its implementation. Notably, Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies helped fund the Voatz app’s development.