Vote Automation in Colombia

In the following weeks, Colombia will continue to make important steps towards electoral automation.

In order to choose a system and, at the same time, choose a reliable provider, the National Registry of Colombia has a Support Comission which will help deciding between leading companies in e-voting from Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands and Venezuela.

Ballot scanning and touch screen systems, with or without voting receipts, e-ballots and tablets, among many others, are some of the voting technologies being analysed by Colombia as possible options.

In order to decide one of the many alternatives, there must be clarity as to what the functions of a voting system are. As we understand it, these are:

  1. Authenticating the voter

  2. Presenting the voter with the right ballot

  3. Capturing the voter’s choice

  4. Sending these choices to a central tallying point

  5. Tallying the ballots  (adding them up)

  6. Reporting the totals

  7. Offering an audit mechanism

Now well, in order to compare different voting system one needs standards. Most likely, no system will have a perfect score when judged against these criteria of comparison. However, some systems will clearly be left out of the picture while others will rank highly. In general terms, these are the five standars that need to be considerated:

  • Ease of use

  • Ease of management

  • Precision, safety and trust of the voter

  • Privacy

  • Economy

Once the technology is chosen, it’s necessary to find a provider that’s capable of carrying out the gargantuan task of performing all the different tasks that make up an election. The ideal thing is to have a sole provider, capable of carrying out the 7 tasks described previously. This company must have the technical and logistical capabilities to assist the voting authorities at all times. It must also have a long track record of experience in electoral matters, so that it can overcome the hurdles that an electoral process implies when it’s carried out in an enviroment as complex as the current social, political, cultural and geographic reality of modern Colombia.


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