The American state embracing blockchain and facial recognition for overseas voters

America has big elections coming at the end of the year – and one state is going to be adopting some pioneering technology to help people vote…

A voting app backed by blockchain technology is being used in crucial upcoming midterm elections coming later this year in the US.

The state of West Virginia successfully piloted the use of the app, from a startup company called Voatz, earlier this year. The pilot scheme allowed military personnel based overseas to vote in state elections from their smartphone. The Voatz system uses facial recognition technology to first of all identify voters, and then stored their ballots anonymously via blockchain.

The state has thus far used the technology in two of its 55 counties, but for the crucial upcoming midterm elections later this year, the system is being rolled out to all of them. It won’t be compulsory for each county to use it, but the option will be there, purely for overseas military personnel.

It’s the first system of its kind in the US to be used for such a pivotal election, and there’s been some pushback, not least against the backdrop of technological meddling investigations regarding Russia’s influence over America’s 2016 Presidential election. Furthermore, questions are being asked about the security of facial recognition systems.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, though, is content that four different audits of the system from the trial earlier this year have thrown up no problems. As such, the greenlight has been given to expand use of Voatz’s technology. Inevitably, ensuring integrity of voting across 55 counties is a far bigger test for the technology than a trial across two, though.

Come the vote this coming November, many of both sides of the technological argument will be watching what happens in West Virginia with interest….


Image: BigStock