Overseas military personnel from West Virginia will break new ground as they use smartphone voting in the upcoming Nov. 2018 federal election. Using an app from a Boston company called Voatz, voters will take a photo of their government issued ID and a selfie video of their face to register. Facial recognition will match the two prior to a ballot being submitted.
In our three years as a company, more than 75,000 votes have been cast on our platform, and we’ve administered more than 30 pilot elections.
When the absentee military ballots are submitted, they are anonymized and recorded on a public blockchain (IBM’s Hyperledger) also known as a digital ledger. Blockchain is often associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it is also gaining use in digital identity applications.
West Virginia elections officials tested the Voatz app for smartphone voting in two counties during the primary elections in 2018. The system passed four separate audits looking at the security of the cloud hosting solution and blockchain infrastructure among other elements, according to a CNN report.
The decision on whether to use the app in the November election will be left to county officials, and regardless of the local decision, all troops can cast paper ballots if they prefer.
According to a Voatz representative, “In our three years as a company, more than 75,000 votes have been cast on our platform, and we’ve administered more than 30 pilot elections. With each election we’ve learned something new, and we will continue to take the time necessary to ensure that the voting process is secure for voters.”