According to Tomás Figueroa Padilla, President of the Electoral and Citizen Participation Institute (IEPC), which leads the e-voting project in the city of Gómez Farías and the Districts 1 and 17 in Jalisco (Tequila and Jocotepec), Mexico will wait for all voting tests to be held before deciding whether they will automate the system or not.
Figueroa stated that the decision to automate a number of ballots before the next July 1 Mexican presidential elections will have to wait until the last test. He assured that “if there is failure and it can be attributed to the systems technology provider, a financial guarantee will be collected in order to get the investment back.”
167,000 electronic ballots were installed during the third test, which took place last May 13th. 81.6% of the installed ballots, that is, 946 of them, transmitted results from the ballot’s location. 18.4% did not transmit results due to problems with the satellite signal.
According to the IEPC President, on the fourth test (scheduled for May 27th) there will be an attempt to solve the problems exposed by some members of the Parliament (being Ana Bertha Guzmán one of them), and the electoral organism will meet after June 17th to decide if the project will be executed or not.
Ana Bertha Guzmán, president of the Congress of State’s Electoral Affairs Commission, witnessed the e-voting tests and stated that their use was in risk due to the fact that the ballots were still having static problems, which would cause the receipts generated by the votes to be visible to all voters.
However, Figueroa Padilla seems optimistic. He stated that even though the last drill will be very close to the presidential elections, reinstating manual voting would only take six days if the need arises. He pointed out that the impression of ballot papers for the 550,000 voters within the pilot area would cost 605,000 Mexican pesos (44,000 dollars).
Let’s hope that there is no need to go back to traditional voting. This risk is proof of the consequences of not evaluating all the necessary aspects to carry out a bid. In Mexico, a deal was struck with Pounce Consulting, a company that lacks experience in the development or implementation of e-voting technology. There have already been problems, e.g., the ones related to the delivery of the ballots due to the considerable delay of the company, which put the electoral calendar at risk.