The Latin-American approach to e-voting in 2010


Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Puerto Rico and Mexico are a sample of the Latin-American countries that are studying the electronic vote as a solution to modernize their electoral systems, or have already started to implement it.

To understand why this is happening in the region, we can take a look at what’s happening in Colombia, as an example. Colombians still use manual vote but the results are known in a very short time. However, there are two big deficiencies with this system: the results are extra official, and the success of the vote count depends on the type of election that is taking place. If the elections are for President, the numbers are known almost in real-time, but if the elections are legislative, the scenery changes, as weeks may pass before the results are known.

Ecuador is expecting to implement automated voting. Since last may, The National Electoral Council is evaluating three alternatives to automate the electoral processes of 2013. Even though it seems as these were merely the first steps to modernize the Ecuadorian electoral system, truth is that the nation approved a pilot in 2004 which used160 machines that were provided by the Brazilian government. The great success of this first approach to electronic vote settled the basis for the implementation of the electronic vote in 2006.

Puerto Rico, as an associated state of the United States, enjoys the political and economic benefits of the American nation, which helps Puerto Rico, drive its development. However, the island is stuck with an anachronistic electoral system (operational and regulatory), which sets it apart from the advances achieved by the United States in this field. Because of this, the actual government is propelling an important electoral reform. This reform includes the inclusion of electronic voting, which is expected to be released in the general elections of 2012.

Meanwhile in Peru, after a long political struggle, electronic voting became a reality as a way of fulfilling a national need. In October 24th, 2010, the Congress of the Republic approved the bill for the gradual and progressive introduction of electronic voting. The country needed less than five years to achieve this, because even though the Law No. 28581 of 2005 ordered the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) to approve the vote automation, the process was long paralyzed due to the denial on the approval of the legal instrument that makes automation possible.

Peruvian authorities approved last year the regulation of electronic voting. The legal text concerns the procedure for exercising the right to vote, as well as the technical steps to be executed in an election day.

In Mexico, Demetrio Navarro Tinarejo (Coordinator of the Electoral Training Area of the Electoral Institute and Civic Training (IECC) of Jalisco), successfully presented a proposal for implementing the e-vote in the 2012 elections. This electoral technology has been already proven in three municipalities of Jalisco. Navarro Tinarejo emphasized on the optimal results that the system has thrown, in order to demonstrate that the technology can be used and implemented with no setbacks.

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