Officers Push Forward Regardless of Considerations With West Virginia’s Blockchain Voting Experiment

West Virginia is gearing as much as deploy a blockchain-based voting utility for elections in November. The concept is being met with rising quantities of criticism from safety specialists and election specialists, however these spearheading the initiative are shifting ahead.  Earlier this yr, Bitcoinist reported on West Virginia’s formidable plans to convey blockchain to voting.


West Virginia is gearing as much as deploy a blockchain-based voting utility for elections in November. The concept is being met with rising quantities of criticism from safety specialists and election specialists, however these spearheading the initiative are shifting ahead. 


Earlier this yr, Bitcoinist reported on West Virginia’s formidable plans to convey blockchain to voting. In late March, state officers introduced an initiative with a Boston-based expertise startup, Voatz, that may permit those that fall beneath the Uniformed and Abroad Residents Absentee Voting Act forged their ballots because of blockchain.

The state examined out the blockchain-based voting resolution throughout two counties throughout the Might 8th main election. These eligible had been in a position to vote with their Android or Apple cell machine. Now officers within West Virginia’s authorities, and at Voatz, are getting ready to make the system available for eligible abroad army personnel who need to vote digitally within the November election. As election day looms, a rising variety of safety specialists and election integrity advocates at the moment are saying blockchain-based voting is a foul thought. Some are even pushing for a shift away from on-line voting altogether.

Blockchain-Based mostly Voting For Citizen Profit

An article from Politico noted that the shift in the direction of a extra digital voting system in West Virginia largely got here from the efforts of West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner. Warner mentioned he was not in a position to vote throughout elections in 2012 and 2014 whereas stationed in Afghanistan. In March, Warner remarked how the blockchain voting resolution was an effort to “encourage voter participation at each stage” by a protected, safe, and correct system. Report Recommends That Blockchain Should Not Be Used for Voting Voatz mentioned those that use the digital voting system should verify their id by a selfie and state ID. Then this info is “double-anonymized” by the blockchain’s server community, and by the smartphone. Voatz additionally collects a fingerprint scan, and scans the voter’s face and fingerprint as soon as once more earlier than sending the finished poll off to state officers. For the November election, officers hope 300-400 individuals will use the voting resolution to forged their poll. Mike Queen of the West Virginia’s Secretary of State’s Workplace mentioned this system could be halted if proof confirmed the voting course of was compromised.

Blockchain Doesn’t Resolve Points With Elections

Nonetheless, a rising refrain of individuals assume all the thought is dangerous. Cybersecurity knowledgeable Matt Blaze wrote that blockchain voting could make it very tough to keep up poll secrecy. Blaze additionally mentioned it doesn’t clear up any of the elemental points civil elections have.

Different appear to echo the same sentiment. David Jefferson, a board member of Verified Voting, mentioned web voting methods have a variety of doubtless harmful vulnerabilities. He believes there wouldn’t be a clear-cut manner to determine if expertise like this was contaminated with some form of malware. Others think malware on a voter’s machine may change a vote earlier than it’s recorded on the blockchain. This might render the purported immutability benefits of the expertise all however ineffective. West Virginia Different election integrity advocates are pushing for whole shift away from on-line and digital voting fashions, particularly amid considerations of alleged international affect into the American electoral course of. Regardless of the criticisms, each Voatz and the federal government of West Virginia stay resolute on pushing ahead. Warner mentioned his workplace has been in contact with different states and officers the world over who’re very curious in presumably replicating the voting system.

What do you consider West Virginia’s experimental blockchain voting system? Tell us within the feedback beneath!


Photographs courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.



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