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Blockchain Voting successfully conducting in the 2018 Midterm Elections Reports West Virginia Secretary of State

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On Nov 15th, Mac Warner, the Secretary of State of West Virginia reported the first case of remote blockchain voting. As stated by West Virginia's Secretary of State, 144 military personnel stationed across 24 different countries cast their votes in the mid-term election using Votaz, a mobile, blockchain-based platform.

According to Warner, this was the first time in the history of the United States that military personnel and U.S. citizens living overseas were able to cast their votes using a mobile application powered by the blockchain technology.
The midterm voting for the general elections in West Virginia commenced in September after opening to the absentee ballot.
The trial of Votaz first took place in April during the primary elections of West Virginia. These blockchain based ballots were restricted to only a specific group of voters which included military personnel deployed overseas and U.S. citizens residing overseas and eligible to cast their absentee vote as per UOCAVA or the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

These blockchain based ballots were restricted to only a specific group of voters which included military personnel deployed overseas and U.S. citizens residing overseas and eligible to cast their absentee vote as per UOCAVA or the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

This blockchain based voting system was developed for addressing low levels of participation among the military personnel. As per Symantec, only 18% of the 2 million military personnel serving overseas along with their family members voted in 2016. Only 11% of the votes were eligible for counting due to tardy ballots and counting rejections.
Although the success of the project was noted by the Secretary of State, Michael Queen, Warner's deputy stated that there were no further plans to expand the program beyond the men and women in uniform deployed overseas.

According to Deputy Secretary of State, Warner is not advocating implementing this process of voting in the mainstream elections. As per the U.S. Elections Project's data, West Virginia ranks 44th regarding voter participation, having a 42.6% participation rate in voting.
Safety concerns were raised by some experts regarding the usage of mobile devices for voting. According to the Chief Technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, Joseph Lorenzo Hall, voting in elections using mobile devices is a bad idea as most of these devices have low levels of security. Even the networks and servers using the internet lack in robust security features, this eliminates the physical record of the casted vote.

As per the U.S. Elections Project's data, West Virginia ranks 44th regarding voter participation, having a 42.6% participation rate in voting.

But, Bradley Tusk encourages mobile voting as it can encourage voter participation and enable better functioning of democracy. Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies has also contributed to funding the development of the Voatz mobile application.

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