The app was developed by suburban Boston company Voatz.

Plans to let some voters cast their ballots via a mobile phone app got a dim reception from tech watchers who declared the idea 'an invitation for hackers to hijack elections.'

"The problem is security," declared Nick Francesco, retired technology manager at the University of Rochester. "None of the networks are really secure. To be fair, they were never designed to be."

According to reports out Monday, West Virgina state leaders are working on a proposal to let military service members overseas use a smart phone app as an alternative to paper ballots in this fall's midterm elections.

The app was developed by suburban Boston company Voatz.

It requires voters to register by photographing their government-issued ID and submitting images of their faces.

The system would then use facial recognition software to verify that the right person is voting.

But Francesco insisted there were too many points, from the user's phone, to the servers on the cell phone provider's system, to intermediate internet servers across the web, to the computers in county election offices, where the process could be tampered with.

"Wherever you have a computer," he warned."You have the possibility of break-in. And very, very, few people are good enough to really secure a machine against a determined hacker."

And determined hackers, he proclaimed, are plentiful, ready to take a few "rubles" and whip up an attack on smart phones which generally have little virus protection to begin with.

"It is very easy for someone to write a virus that will take over your phone and make that call," he said. "Even if they could only call once. That's one call. Then, when you call, it's too late. Your vote has already been cast."

West Virginia officials explained that election managers in individual counties would be able to make the determination in whether they would allow their voters to use the Voatz app system.

Francesco cautioned that the system would involve trusting a precious treasure, votes, to a system were even Amazon and Walmart would be challenged to keep people from being ripped off.

"Amazon makes it right or Walmart makes it right or whoever makes it right," he said."Who makes it right for the federal government if your vote wasn't… How would you even know if your vote was missed? Or counted? That's the problem."