Although 2011 has been a year where automation took a leap forward in several Latin American countries and even in Europe, the first half of 2012 will be marked by a greater number of manual elections. In this installment we shall remember the advantages of electronic voting, especially to ensure transparency in the elections.
The electoral pace will be set by Venezuela, where the “Mesa de la Unidad” (MUD) will celebrate its primary elections to be held on February 12, 2012 to determine the presidential candidate who will represent the MUD in Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election to be celebrated on October 7, as well as their candidates for the upcoming regional and municipal elections of December 2012 and April 2013 respectively. These would be the first open presidential primary election in the history of Venezuela, and will be facilitated technically by the National Electoral Council.
Russia will elect its nation’s president on March 11, and the background is not all positive. After a mid-year trial of electronic voting in some provinces, the legislative elections on December 4 were performed using the manual method and were engaged in loud complaints of election fraud. With this scenario, the nation is headed next year to a presidential election.
Also on March 11 parliamentary and municipal elections will be held in El Salvador, where manual ballots will be used to choose 84 deputies to the Legislative Assembly and 262 mayors of the municipalities. This event will be take the form of “residential voting” which will cover 48.8% of the population that makes up the electoral register, with the intention of bringing closer the polling stations and polling boards. In addition, they will implement the participation of independent candidates, and will include pictures of the candidates on the ballots.
In the case of manual elections, the procedures are recorded on paper and handled 100% by the citizens, so security provisions tend to be focused on the physical safety of the electoral kit. Irregularities often arise such as the alteration of electoral material, loss or damage, impaired movement and exposure to human error.
The automated voting system settles many problems that the manual method has accumulated. The automation involves the auditability (so that the system can be assessed in all its phases) and provides technological alternatives to recognize fraud attempts. It also ensures safety in the tallying and collection of results, and eliminates a large percentage of human error.
France is another country that will face two major elections in the first half of 2012. On April 22 the election of the president will be held and the second round is set for May 6. Later, in June specifically, the first round of legislative elections will take place, and the second round is scheduled for June 17.
However, one case that will draw attention next year will be the presidential election in the Dominican Republic, an event to be held on May 20, 2012. This Central American country has several years at the crossroads towards electronic voting. After multiple attempts and the denial in 2006 of the implementation of the pilot plan, they are working on the possibility of automating the tallying for the presidential election in the May 20, 2012 and automating the entire process for the elections of 2016.
After several setbacks, the president of the Central Electoral Board of that country, Roberto Rosario, announced earlier this year that the tallying and consolidation of voting records for the Dominican presidential election of 2012 would be automated and also simultaneously received by political parties, civil society organizations and the media who want to disclose it to the public. This will be a step towards full automation of the elections in that country.
For the second half of 2012 more elections are expected, among the highlights are the presidential of Mexico and Venezuela, and the municipal ones in Lima and Chile