For more than 150 years, West Virginians have answered the call to duty.
Known to have one of the highest rates of military service per capita, West Virginia’s uniformed services members continue the tradition of military service to our country that began when the state was founded in 1863.
Our experiences have shown how difficult it is for uniformed services members to participate in elections using traditional absentee paper ballots.
In fact, because postal service was so unreliable in the Middle East, many of our service men and women were not able to vote in the 2012 and 2014 primary elections.
According to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, nearly 300,000 overseas voters requested ballots but were not able to return them to their county clerks back home in the 2016 elections.
We identified that most electronic ballot delivery technology required access to a desktop computer, printer and scanner, all of which present significant barriers to overseas voters, especially those in combat zones or engaged in covert operations.
About a year later, our team was presented with an opportunity by Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies, which offered to fund a pilot project to enhance ballot accessibility to uniformed services members and overseas citizens.
Download a copy of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for State and Federal Elections.
For online access to the Federal Post Card Application visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.
West Virginia has implemented a secure mobile voting application that allows voters to receive, vote, and return their ballots electronically. The application also utilizes blockchain technology to store electronically submitted ballots until election night, and requires a heightened standard of identity verification for users than traditional absentee ballot processes.
This project is unprecedented in United States history, being the first mobile voting application and first use of blockchain technology in a federal election.
There were, of course, substantial security requirements that included utilizing federal standards for software development, regular maintenance and security upgrades, in-depth penetration testing, source code auditing and audits of the system’s cloud infrastructure. After surpassing those requirements, the pilot moved forward.
The app, which also utilizes biometric facial recognition software and thumbprint safeguards to ensure the identity of the voter, increased the confidence of the auditors. In short, the nation’s first mobile voting app test pilot was a success.
Voters from six different countries used the app in the Primary Election. Post-election security audits by several independent and widely respected technology auditing companies showed that the technology provided a secure platform for voting and an alternative to the traditional absentee paper ballot.
Eligible uniformed services members and overseas voters in any of the following 24 counties will have the option to vote on their cell phone or mobile tablet: Berkeley, Cabell, Grant, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Roane, Summers, Wayne and Wetzel.
Of course, UOCAVA voters may still choose to receive their ballots via traditional absentee paper ballot process, email or fax. This new technology is merely an option in those counties.
For more information on voting absentee for uniformed services members or overseas voters, please contact your county clerk. You may also call the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Election Division at (304) 558-6000.
If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us: 304.558.6000 toll free 866.767.8683 email: Elections@wvsos.gov