2011 has been a year of introducing electronic voting for many nations. This is the case for Peru, Panama and Malaysia. Other countries evaluate its viability such as Uruguay, where political actors argue that while the current model is recognized for providing guarantees, they realize the need to modernize several related processes to improve the security and speed of elections. The automation promise remains for the Dominican Republic’s presidential election to be held on May 20, 2012 and for Mexico with the entire infrastructure and some trials, but awaiting the decision of the Parliament to analyze whether to apply automation to the presidential election of July 2012.
There is also the outlook in Argentina, where several provincial elections have been held through automation, but the scene has not yet fully coalesced for the presidential elections. And there is the eternal case of Colombia, where it has been proven that manual voting can work in a presidential election, but it can become a true disaster in legislative elections. On November 20 of this year, three weeks after the Colombian regional elections of October 30, 2011, the names of the elected mayors of six municipalities were still unknown, and further yet, until the 13th of December (almost two months after the election) the composition of the council and local boards in Bogotá were still not established.
In the case of Peru, on June 5 the system designed by the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) was put to the test, to comply with the 2005 Law #28581, which ordered the gradual and progressive automation of elections.
The first experience with electronic voting was small but with positive results. The province of Cañete, in the Pacarán district, was the selected location to deploy the first automated Election Day, for which three poll places were equipped with voting machines provided for 1354 citizens to exercise their vote. The results of the count were obtained 30 minutes after closing, and the count of the vote receipts an hour later.
Panama also joined the Latin American elite with automated elections, and also became an example of inclusion for the region and the world by selecting an indigenous county as the first location to use the electoral technology to vote.
The decision of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) was that the Shire Bugle-Ngäbe voted to elect the Chief General, three Regional Chiefs, seven local Chiefs and Special “Buglé” Chief, through the electronic voting system designed by the agency and in order to extend its application to the whole country starting in 2016.
In Honduras, the Spanish company Indra made a speech before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of that country and to political parties, about the “goodness” of electronic voting.
On the other hand, problems with voting duplicity and identity theft led Malaysia to adopt the technology that fully ensures the identity of voters using biometric technology, which is, using fingerprinting to confirm the identity of the voters on Election Day.
And in Venezuela, although this year no elections were held, the country’s National Electoral Council proposed to incorporate the Integrated Authentication System (SAI), a mechanism provided with fingerprint readers (biometric identification) that allows that the voting machine can only be unlocked with the fingerprint of the voters registered to vote in that table.
After seven years using the automated system provided by Smartmatic, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council began a project to modernize the technology platform. National Electoral Council authorities justified the investment, reaching some 116 million bolivars.
The South American country will hold their primaries for the opposition parties on February 12, 2012, out of which will come out the strongest opponent of President Hugo Chavez, who in turn will run for reelection in the presidential elections of October 7 next year.
Ecuador, Nicaragua, Russia and Colombia are among the nations that hold elections with a manual voting system. The experiences have spoken for themselves. In all cases there were allegations of fraud and of delays in the delivery of results.