Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Blockchain Used In Recently Concluded State Elections in West Virginia

West Virginia recently concluded its general election, but what’s more interesting is that a mobile application was used. This app was able to store ballots on the Blockchain and Mac Warner, West Virginia Secretary of State, revealed this in a publication. He said that the application enabled those residing outside the county to cast their vote.

Voatz System Stores Ballots on Blockchain Technology

Voatz system is the name of the voting application that was used. It aims to make voting just as convenient as online banking. This is a system that can be run on an Android or iPhone smartphone that has biometric security features. These are facial ID recognition and fingerprint sensor which will enable the user to cast their vote.

Once that is done, the ballot is encrypted and assigned a unique ID before it is secured on the blockchain platform. The storing process can use about 16 to 32 validating nodes. A part of this is held on Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers while the other half is on Amazon’s AWS servers. With this system, a voter can verify if their vote has been counted.

Blockchain technology was employed because of its level of transparency in comparison with paper voting. It is also faster and more secure than the later, where the Senator described as just sitting in a “dusty mailroom”. In his own words;

It’s much more secure than taking a paper ballot sending it overseas and letting it set in some dusty mailroom until some soldier comes back off of deployment is able to pick that up ballot, find a stamp, sign it, leave it back in that dusty mailroom for another week until somebody comes back to pick it up and put it on military cargo plane to ship it over to be counted in a local U.S. precinct

Blockchain Technology is Used to Secure Ballots For the First Time

Mac Warner said that it was the first time elections were conducted using a mobile app that stored ballots on the Blockchain. The app allowed 144 Military and West Virginian voters residing abroad to exercise their right. This personnel is from 30 counties in the metropolitan area, and as such, this turnout is remarkable.

The state election was held between October 24th and November 3, and it turned out to be a success. According to the Senator, it was hassle-free. Deducing from the data obtained, about 48 percent residents who were eligible to vote, did so. This means that 593,900 ballots were cast and 183,205 votes were recorded.


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