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W. Virginia's Decision to Allow Smartphone Voting for Midterms Raises Serious Security Concerns

For the first time in our nation's history, voters in 24 counties in W. Virginia will be able to vote using their mobile phones. While some are hailing the decision because it will make voting easier for members of the military deployed overseas, experts are warning of possible security breaches.

"After researching previously available options, the Secretary’s team identified that most electronic ballot delivery technology required access to a desktop computer, printer and scanner, all of which present significant barriers to overseas voters, especially those in combat zones or engaged in covert operations," the W. Virginia Secretary of State's office explained in a press release this week. The state is partnering with a Boston, Massachusetts-based company called Voatz, Inc.

"Voatz has developed a secure mobile voting application that allows voters to receive, vote, and return their ballots electronically," the press release claims. "The application also utilizes blockchain technology to store electronically submitted ballots until election night, and requires a heightened standard of identity verification for users than traditional absentee ballot processes. This project is unprecedented in United States history, being the first mobile voting application and first use of blockchain technology in a federal election."