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W. Va. says mobile voting via blockchain went smoothly

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West Virginia officials say a mobile voting app based on blockchain technology successfully allowed absentee military members and their families living overseas to participate in this year’s mid-term elections using only their smartphones.

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office estimated that 144 West Virginia absentee voters living in 30 different countries cast ballots using an application on approved mobile devices that records the ballots anonymously using blockchain.

The state used the app, which was developed by Boston start-up Voatz, to allow  absentee voting by military members deployed overseas. The absentee voters would otherwise have had to submit paper absentee ballots via mail or vote over a land line telephone.

The state now plans to conduct an audit of the results that it expects to take two to three months; it then plans to publish the results of the audit.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner told State Scoop the mobile voting app is not a trend but the “wave of the future.”

Voatz / blackdovfx / Getty Images

“For the first time in our nation’s history, military and overseas citizens were able to cast ballots in a federal election using a mobile device. If this technology were not available, many of those soldiers and citizens would not have had the opportunity to participate in our democracy,” Warner said in a statement.

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