With a biometric pattern praised by the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) of the Organization of American States (OAS), Bolivia sets out on a new endeavor: having all citizens use electronic voting by 2014.Leaving manual voting vices and mistakes behind seems to be the natural step taken by this South American country, which in 2009 technified the registry of voters, with the help of companies such as Smartmatic. The Supreme Electoral Court (SEC) set 2014 as the deadline to hold the very first automated general elections.The Bolivian biometric register was established in 2009. Graphic: GoogleThe TSE IT spokesperson, Fanny Rivas, was in charge of making the announcement on the news and reported that in the budget for the following year an item was included aiming to initiate the process and even made reference about “making contact with countries with good progress (on the subject of matter), one of them is Brazil”.In order to guarantee the proposed objective, the TSE officer argued some of the advantages electronic voting has to offer. Such is the case of providing more security to voters by guaranteeing that the vote casted will be counted and registered, and that, at the same time, will allow Bolivia to leave the place it has among the countries with the greatest delays when it comes to publishing official electoral results.Although Bolivia is still enquiring about which technology to adopt, the electoral body already has an insight about the requirements to be met. Initially, emphasis is made in the use of voting machines that print out a voting receipt in paper, which in case of being required, may be used to validate electronic voting count. Venezuela uses equipment with these features (SAES, in its different versions).
Another requirement seems to be the auditing of all processes involved in the electronic voting system. Once again, Venezuela can be used as an example. In every voting process, they perform at least 15 tests to ensure security and transparency standards are met. The road has barely started, but the TSE is clear that despite having a preliminary timetable for the next steps to be followed to meet the 2014 deadline, nothing will become a reality if the Legislative Assembly fails to modify the State Political Constitution, and the electoral regulations to enable electronic voting. The cards have been dealt, and only the results of the item are being awaited for.
Note: The biometric electoral register implemented in 2009, consists on registering voters by taking their digital fingerprints of the 10 hand fingers, a digital picture and a digital signature. This measure allows voting station officers to ensure proper matching of information of citizens who will cast their vote.