West Virginia voters who will be overseas during the November general election might qualify to use a new mobile app to cast their vote more easily than traditional absentee ballots. Several computer and technology experts have questioned whether the system will be secure enough during the first federal election after the 2016 Russian hacking. Officials with the Secretary of State’s office say the app is a calculated risk to allow more people to vote. … The mobile app, run by a company called Voatz, uses blockchain technology. That it a distributed ledger technology used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered after the fact. The mobile app voting was tested earlier this year in the primary election, and Kersey said its still in a pilot phase.
Audrey Malagon is an associate professor of mathematics from Virginia Wesleyan Universtiy. She works with Verified Voting to advocated for secure election practices, and said she is very concerned about West Virginia’s pilot project.
“Even if the blockchain technology is really secure, that doesn’t mean the entire election process is really secure,” Malagn said. “Any time that you’re using internet, mobile phone voting there are vulnerabilities. The information that gets recorded on the blockchain, we want to make sure that that is correct.”
Malagon said there could be a potential that, before the vote is sent away, the information could be intercepted or tampered with on the user’s device before it’s sent to the blockchain. “If something were to go wrong, how would we go back and find that out?” Malagon said.