For a while now, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the efficiency of blockchain technology in voting systems. While one camp claims this emerging tech is going to make voting less stressful and more accurate, another camp claims that applying blockchain technology in voting will only make things worse as it is not going to be beneficial in this regard.
Testing The Blockchain Voting Theory
The election season started not long ago and West Virginia has tested the blockchain voting system by implementing Voatz, a mobile blockchain-based voting app that allows citizens outside the state to vote remotely. This isn’t the first time this app is being used. During the primaries this year, the system was tested in two counties. The test showed success and the system was applied during the midterm elections last week. While just 13 people used the app during the primaries, almost 150 people used it during the midterm elections as reported by StateScoop. Most of the people who used the app are Peace Corp volunteers and deployed military members.
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The traditional method of placing ballot has always been lengthy and stressful. Voatz, which is available for Android and Apple devices, is accessible to everyone irrespective of their location. To use the app, an account must be created and the user must provide a phone number and an 8 digit pin for verification. There is also two-factor authentication for extra security. There are different steps in the identity verification process. For starters, users must submit a picture of a valid driver’s license. This is followed by an in-app video that instructs users on how to shoot and send videos of their faces. The facial recognition is used to verify that the identity of the voter is the same as identity of the person who performed registration in the state.
As soon as the mobile registration process is complete, the user can vote via the app as long as their identity is verified. The votes are subsequently printed into paper ballot that look like Scranton tests you see in high schools. These papers pass through machines that are similar to the machines teachers use during multiple choice tests.
During an interview with StateScoop, the secretary of state said:
“Blockchain is being used in various industries from transportation to health care. It provides the perfect high-tech solution to most of the problems Americans face. It’s not a matter of joining a trend. It’s about moving into the future.”
The office of the secretary of state will conduct a review of how effective blockchain-based voting is by looking into variables as soon as the audit is complete. The report will be released next week.