Absentee ballots cast with biometric voting system in West Virginia
U.S. military personnel and overseas voters registered in West Virginia have begun casting absentee ballots for the upcoming November 6 elections through biometric voting app Voatz, WV MetroNews reports.
Absentee ballots can be cast online through Voatz in 24 of the state’s 55 counties. The remaining 31 chose not to implement the online system, which authenticates voter identity with facial recognition and fingerprint scans, and protects vote integrity with blockchain technology. Paper absentee ballots are still available in the 24 counties using Voatz, but Secretary of State Mac Warner says the paper absentee ballot system has not always worked.
“Although a large number of ballots were going out to the soldiers, they weren’t getting returned and so that indicates a problem with the mail system, not a desire on the part of the soldiers because they had to request those ballots in the first place,” Warner said at a press conference announcing the launch of the system to the 24 counties. He also said that the system is still being tested, and the state government had intentionally kept the test small, and made county participation voluntary.
Voatz was tested in two West Virginia counties during the 2018 May Primary Election, with auditable ballots cast in six countries, MetroNews reports. Critics have raised concerns about security and privacy measures.