In 2018, West Virginia became the first state in the nation to allow military personnel serving overseas to vote with a cell phone app. It’s now been expanded to people who are disabled. But after coding problems with a cell phone reporting app delayed results in Monday night’s Iowa Caucuses, people are wondering if these systems are safe and secure. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office says there are safeguards.
“In West Virginia, we have an end-to-end encryption system, that our county administrators use to transmit ballot results, electronically on election night, for election night reporting. It’s not done via App. It’s done through a completely different system,” said Deak Kersey, General Counsel, for the West Virginia Secretary of State.
Lawmakers were expressing their concerns, wanting assurance that cell phone app voting is secure.
“In my primary last year, there was one candidate who I believe lost by two votes. So every vote does matter. We’re keeping them. They’re going to be accurate and there are a number of checks and balances in place,” said Del. Daniel Linville, (R) Cabell and Vice-Chair of the House Technology Committee.
One of those checks is that 3 percent of ballots in every county must also be hand-counted, to look for irregularities.
Deak Kersey, WV Sec. of State General Counsel
“And if there is a one-percent difference or a single change in a race, the entire county is going to be counted by hand. That’s West Virginia law. It’s been the law for years.”
The West Virginia phone app is encrypted in the download, to prevent hacking.
“As it stands now, West Virginia military personnel serving overseas and people who are disabled, will be allowed to vote in the May 12th primary election, using a cell phone app,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.