While e-voting still has a lot of the U.S. nervous and fretting about cybersecurity concerns, West Virginia is planning to roll out the mobile voting technology to even more residents. Governor Jim Justice aims to sign a bill next week requiring that all counties provide an online ballot option to voters with disabilities—as they already do for military and overseas voters, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner told local news outlets.
Though officials have yet to make a final decision, Warner said they’d likely be providing counties with the smartphone app Voatz or something similar for use in the 2020 election. In 2018, West Virginia became the first—and, so far, only—state to allow military and overseas voters in all counties to cast their ballot via their smartphones with Voatz.
“The fact that it’s worked for us before and it’s secure means it’s likely we’ll go that direction,” Warner said, adding that he’s waiting for Voatz to finish a security audit before making the state’s choice official.
While cybersecurity experts haven’t found any specific security problems with the app, many have denounced it—along with any kind of online voting, for that matter—by citing increased security risks and potential abuses stemming from insufficient voter verification protocols.
“Mobile voting systems completely run counter to the overwhelming consensus of every expert in the field,” Matt Blaze, a computer scientist at Georgetown University and seasoned election security researcher, told NBC. “This is incredibly unwise.”
While I can understand experts’ concerns, glaring security problems continue to exist in several states’ voting systems, online or not. And with our increasingly digital lifestyles, trying to convince your average voter why they can use their phone for almost everything except casting their ballot feels like a losing battle to me.