- Blockchain-Based Voting App Voatz to No Longer Be Used in West Virginia
- Citing its vulnerabilities, Voatz will be replaced by a Democracy Live service
The blockchain-based voting app, Voatz, will no longer be used by West Virginia. The news comes after researchers discovered vulnerabilities within the app.
On February 29, it was reported by NBC News that West Virginia's secretary of state, Mac Warner, announced that disabled and overseas voter will not be able to use mobile apps in to vote for the state’s primaries.
Democracy Live Service to Be Used Instead
Instead of Voatz, W. Virginia voters will have to use a Democracy Live service, which allows them to fill out an online ballot and return it through the post.
The Voatz app was piloted by West Virginia in the 2010’s general midterm election.
In February, legislation that mandates electronic voting in all state’s counties was introduced. As reported by NBS, an agreement was signed between the state of West Virginia and Voatz, which means the app would have had to be used for voting throughout 2020.
MIT and DHS Studies Put Down Voatz
West Virginia began to lose confidence in Voatz after a couple of studies demonstrated serious vulnerabilities within the app. One such study was published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and another one by MIT in February, revealed Voatz app’s security vulnerabilities.
These vulnerabilities could have led to the ballot being hacked and the identity of voters being compromised.
However, the DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reached the conclusion that there were no active threats on the Voatz network during the US midterm elections from September 2019.
Voatz commented that it has addressed the recommendations made by the DHS.
Bugs Discovered by MIT Could Not be Exploited in Practice
An election auditor that was responsible for supervising the Voatz system during the Utah County’s rollout said that some of the bugs discovered by the MIT researchers couldn’t be exploited in practice.
Here’s what the general counsel to the West Virginia’s secretary of state, Donald Kersey, said about the matter:
“If the public doesn’t want it or is skeptical to the point they’re not confident in the results, we have to take that into consideration.”