West Virginia set to allow smartphone voting for those serving overseas

West Virginia plans to allow voters serving overseas in the military to cast their midterm election ballots via a smartphone app this November.

The first-ever mobile phone voting app for federal elections uses a person’s registered photo from their government-issued identification and submits a video of their face, CNN reported Monday.

Voatz, the Boston-based company that developed the app, uses facial recognition software to compare the government ID with the selfie-style video to ensure it is the same person.

{mosads}West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner told the network that the technology has been tested in smaller private elections. Warner said they tested the app in two counties during a primary earlier this year and it was successful. 

“There is nobody that deserves the right to vote any more than the guys that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for us,” Warner told CNN.

Each county will have the final decision on whether to use the app, said Michael Queen, Warner’s deputy chief of staff.

It is not a replacement for traditional voting methods and troops will still be allowed to cast paper absentee ballots, Warner said.

The move comes amid national security concerns following Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. intelligence officials have said Russia is continuing that campaign into this year’s midterms.

“In regards to Russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said at the White House last week.

Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN that mobile voting “is a horrific idea.”

”It’s internet voting on people’s horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote,” Hall said.

Warner and Voatz both insist that the app is secure.

Tags 2022 midterm elections Dan Coats Mobile phone Russian interference in the 2016 election Voting West Virginia West Virginia
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