The year 2010 has been a record year for electronic voting. New countries have assumed the challenge and the commitment of transforming their electoral procedures incorporating technology. Many others have advanced in developing their own systems to strengthen security features, transparency and speed.
The Philippines was one of the nations which premiered in the use of automated voting, and the results were amazing. To leave behind the delayed publication of results (weeks became days) and reduce the incidence of violent acts by uncertainty, the nation relied on Smartmatic, a company that helped display a complex logistical and infrastructure program to automate the exercise of suffrage throughout the 7,107 islands that comprise the archipelago.
Brazil and Venezuela ratified their supremacy in South America, and made two separate electoral processes involving millions of voters, modern voting machines and transmission systems that allow them to show neat results today, safe and 100% automated. India has once again put into operation an electronic system to cover more than 700 million voters in the country.
The recent midterm elections in the U.S. attested to the progress of automation, since many states modernized their old systems and are following the trend of improving the machines and counting and transmission software.
Electronic voting is gaining followers around the world, mainly because of the exhibit of the results gained by the aforementioned nations and other countries, which want to give their citizens the key benefits of voting technology: security, cleanliness and speed of processing results.
In South America, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Bolivia are just a sample of countries that advance the implementation of electronic voting. Some reasons could be seen and explained according to what’s happening in Colombia. In this country, voting is manual and the results are released in a short time, but with two major “deficiencies”: unofficial publication of partial results, and a success of the quick count that depends on the election to be met. If presidential elections are being held, the numbers are known almost simultaneously to scrutiny, but for the legislative elections, the picture changes, as they can take days to clear the seats.
In Colombia, there is also an important and influential aspect in the delivery of results. Here, the polls close at 4 pm, regardless there are voters in line to vote, a measure that has undoubtedly created apathy. However, it has an advantage from the technical point of view, which is that it can be easily predicted the time at which results will be displayed. As a contrary case, in Venezuela there is a standard deviation of closing time, so it is not easy to anticipate the closing time of all polls, because the tables operate until the last voter in line exercises its right to vote.
Another important aspect to consider in the analysis of electronic voting has to do with the political environment of each nation. For example in Chile, as in Colombia, the results are not official, but come from the quick counts. But in Venezuela, a country with high political conflict, the results are only issued when they have irreversible trends with final official numbers (95% of aggregation). Electronic voting facilitates this process is met only hours after the total tables are closed and data recollected id official to be formalized for the immediate award of fees.