I thought this was fascinating. The Washington Post reports…
Nearly 140 West Virginians living abroad in 29 countries have cast their election ballots in an unprecedented pilot project that involves voting remotely by mobile device, according to state officials.
Here’s how it works…
The Voatz app has been used on a limited basis in a number of other settings, such as student council races and West Virginia’s May primary. But Election Day represents the company’s biggest test yet.
To cast a ballot, voters must first register through the app by uploading an image of their driver’s license or other photo identification. Then the app instructs them to submit a short video of their own face. Facial recognition technology supplied by a voter’s iPhone or Android device matches the video against the photo ID, and the personal information on the ID is matched to West Virginia’s voter registration database. Once the verification is complete, voters can make their selections and confirm their ballot by fingerprint or facial recognition.
Hilary Braseth, Voatz’s director of product design, said that in addition to using technology for verification, the company also has human workers manually reviewing the submitted information. The company does not store the personal data once a voter’s identity has been confirmed, she said.
Votes are stored on a private blockchain — essentially a database where records are secured using complex computational algorithms — and unlocked by county clerks when the polls close.
“When they take the votes from the blockchain, it will immediately print onto a paper ballot — just like the same look and feel of what voters are physically voting with on Election Day,” Braseth said. “And then those paper ballots will be fed into the tabulating machines on the ground at the state level.”
Overseas voters who used Voatz will receive an anonymized copy of the ballot that they submitted remotely; another copy will be made available to Warner’s office for auditing purposes.