Electronic voting for migrant communities

In recent weeks, was felt strongly the call for civil and political organizations in Switzerland, Mexico and Spain to implement electronic voting as a solution tosuffrage for nationals living abroad. The voting rights of migrants have often been diminished by the difficulties in exercising the voting outside the country of origin.

Although automation of the vote in this case is not new, during the last decade, several European countries – Estonia, Austria- evaluated the feasibility of using voting technology for the emigrants, so far only has advanced in its implementation Switzerland. The Federal Council of the nation, recently approved to use the e-voting or Internet voting for expatriate citizens in the elections of next October 23.

Voters abroad often face difficulties in registering and validating their status as voters, mainly the need of some nations to have legal residency or for fear of revealing their immigration status. But coupled with this, there are obstacles of a technical and logistical hinder the democratic exercise. At this point, consider the receipt of election materials in these diplomatic wrong and location of polling stations, which are usually the consulates or embassies located at great distances from where many citizens lives.

In response to this reality, Switzerland took the step, and in October that will allow 20,000 of the 135,000 people resided in overseas vote via Internet. According to the electoral governing body in each state or province, the inline schema provides that voters receive, via the postal service, its electoral material and a six-digit password, so that once connected the Web designated for the process, the voter enters to accessthe ballot and cast the vote. For this to be validated, the citizen must indicate your date of birth and transcribe a secret four-digit code contained in these documents to vote.

This model is being promoted by the European Federation of the PSOE (Spanish party), indicating that the model of e-voting would increase, facilitate and ensure the participation of many Spanish citizens abroad. The automation of the vote to immigrants has been tested in this country, specifically in the region of Cataluña, where in 2003 a pilot program tested electronic voting for elections of parliament and took 23 000 voters living in Argentina, Belgium , Chile, USA and Mexico.

Popular pressure is also felt in Mexico this month, when the Organization of Migrant delivered to the Electoral Affairs Commission of the State of Tlaxcala, a proposal for legal reform that progress in introducing electronic voting for overseas residents, and remove thus, the exclusion of thousands of citizens with equal rights of those who still live in Aztec territory.

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