Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia’s pilot program that made it possible for overseas citizens and military personnel to cast a ballot using a secure internet connection is the featured story in Election Line Weekly, the online newsletter of the Pew Center On The States.
The online article says voters here “made a bit of voting history in the recent West Virginia primary.”
Five counties in West Virginia – Jackson, Kanawha, Marshall, Monongalia, and Wood – took part in the pilot program.
With four counties reporting their returns, 68 overseas voters and military personnel requested an online ballot. 54 of those ballots were voted and returned, or about 80 percent.
Statewide voter turnout for the primary election was about 23 percent.
West Virginia’s internet voting pilot program is getting attention from several other states that are interested in designing a similar initiative. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant recently traveled to Munich, Germany for an Overseas Vote Foundation conference to outline the program for elections officials from around the world.
“From the beginning of my term I wanted our office to be progressive and lead with bold initiatives,” Tennant said. “We have a forward thinking group of people in the secretary of state’s office. The state legislature also allows for best practices exploration, and our county clerks are willing to try new things.”
In order to vote using a secure internet connection, a voter had to request a username and a password. They could then cast their ballot from any computer using a secure military-style encrypted connection.
Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright, Marshall County Clerk Jan Pest, Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick, and Wood County Clerk Jamie Six were also interviewed for the online article.
“All the clerks whose counties participated in the program said they would like to see this become a permanent part of the state’s voting arsenal,” the Pew Center online article concludes.
The article can be viewed here.