For a long time, cybersecurity experts have warned against the usage of voting applications due to the unnecessary increase in security risks. West Virginia isn’t listening though. They are moving to be the first state to use smartphone voting applications to allow people with disabilities to vote in the 2020 election.
Governor Jim Justice plans to sign a bill that will require the counties of West Virginia to provide an online platform for marking ballot so that every voter who suffers from a physical disability will be able to vote.
The West Virginia Secretary of State, Mac Warner, is trying to make it easier for those counties that have a tight budget. He states that more than likely the usage of a smartphone application like Voatz (or something similar) will be what is provided for the counties.
Although there has not been any research to support the concerns of specific security problems that cybersecurity experts warn of, that doesn’t mean that the increased interest in it has not brought forth more inquiry of the Voatz application.
West Virginia is the only state that currently utilizes the Voatz application to allow voters in the military and overseas to vote in elections. This does not mean that there has not been opposition regarding the usage of it. Warner says that he has not been fully sold on the idea of using Voatz in the upcoming election, but he is waiting for the company to complete a security audit to alleviate concerns.
The Voatz application states on their website that they are on a mission to make voting safer and more accessible because all citizens have a right to vote, regardless of the circumstances that they face.
The application is not just available for public usage though. There must be an invitation sent from an organizer in the selected jurisdiction.
The Department of Homeland Security has declined to make a statement in the matter, despite the federal agency offering election security assistance to election officials.