West Virginia Secretary of State vows security of biometric mobile voting process

West Virginia Secretary of State vows security of biometric mobile voting process

West Virginia Secretary of State “Mac” Warner has noted the value of multiple layers of biometric security in a statement from his office announcing his commitment to ensuring the integrity of the U.S. elections, and that he considers election meddling a threat against democracy.

During the 2018 midterm elections, Secretary of State Warner pointed out to the U.S. Attorney’s office that third-parties tried to gain unauthorized access to the system. This occurred during the pilot rollout of West Virginia’s “military mobile voting solution,” a tool developed for overseas military voters and that integrates blockchain technology and voter-verified ballot receipts for security, and facial recognition and thumbprints as biometric security layers to verify voter identity.

This year, the Voatz biometric voting app was also introduced in Denver and Utah.

Although several audits delivered positive results, the vendor identified an illegal attempt to gain access to the system during the pilot rollout in West Virginia in 2018.

Warner says security protocols worked and there was no breach of the mobile voting process. All IPs were handed over to the FBI for further investigation.

“Every safeguard designed for the system was very successful and worked as designed: to gain as much information as possible, and protect the sanctity of the voters’ identities and ballots,” Secretary Warner said. “Although the details of the investigation cannot be disclosed, we can say that no votes were altered, impacted, viewed or in any way tampered with.”

“Elections in America and West Virginia are secure,” he said. “Heading into the Presidential Election of 2020, it is time to communicate with our voters that we take every single potential threat very seriously. We want our voters, and especially every bad actor, to know that no expense will be spared to investigate even unsuccessful attempts of gaining uninvited access to any portion of any election system.

“There’s not a shred of evidence that even a single vote was changed in the 2018 election. Because of our hard work and our investments, all of our systems worked according to plan, and more robust security measures and protocols are being deployed ahead of 2020,” said Warner.

Last month, the U.S. government acted under Executive Order 13848, “Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election,” linking number of entities, individuals, aircrafts and a yacht to Russian the Internet Research Agency. The U.S. is specifically concerned about potential foreign meddling actions taken by Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea to influence the outcome of U.S. elections.

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