Legal reform opens the way for electronic voting in Colombia


Colombia suffered last year profound, even shocking failures in the elections that were run. Several days were delayed to announce the results, the website of the National Registry was affected and signatures were forged to register candidates, being those the vices that took a clean sweep of the public and media arena, and presented without fuss, the shortcomings of manual voting.

After the events, political parties and citizens were open to proposals to improve the electoral system, but nothing happened. Another election run gad to come, the next 30th of October, when governors, mayors, councilors and mayors will be elected in the midst of a wave of violence, so that the authorities would focus once again on the regulation of elections.

The government will deliver to Congress in the coming days a new electoral code that will implement all the rules issued more than 15 years ago, including electronic voting. If the legislation is passed, it would be implemented in the 2014 elections, and its main thrust would be the automation of the vote.

With the legal reform expected, Colombia faces once again the possibility of overcoming the challenge of modernizing the electoral system and voting mechanisms. The Act to implement the process has been in force since 2004 and its application is years behind schedule, but the political will has not been adjusted to the national need and the requirements of the citizens. Now, its just left to t wait if the authorities make a decisión and stop settlling with questionable election results that are challenged from all sides, when the country can guarantee safe, transparent and timely results.

Some voices are starting to tilt in favor of automation. The Minister of the Interior, German Vargas Lleras, said that electronic voting should be a reality for the 2014 elections. While admitting, without elaborating, that there are problems for implementation, he said that “the challenge is to fully implement electronic voting in the 2014 elections, as the political reform had advanced in the citizens digital signature, but now the Government’s commitment is to achieve in 2014 elections with electronic voting.”

The cards are dealt. Automated voting can give Colombia a three-way win: elect the people in the posts those who obatined the real majority, to annul the cheaters and encourage voting, because a proper system will engage more citizens in the exercise of Democracy.

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