The democratic bid for e-voting in Latin America

Defeating resistance is a task that takes persistence, and four Latin American countries have understood so. Colombia, Honduras, Peru, and Mexico have coincided this month in raising their voice in favor of the advancement of their electoral systems. All of them have stories where their Democracies have been hurt due to the doubtfulness of their electoral processes and their results, and for this reason they persist in betting hard for e-voting as the way to eradicate vice and stopping fraud.

Electoral automation in Honduras is already unanimously supported by political parties, which are one of the main actors of the process. During the last few days, the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC) and the National Party urged the authorities to opt for progress and give the nation an electronic voting system that leaves no room for doubt. Only in last year’s primaries (November), the definite results took 10 days to be announced and there were scores of complaints for irregularities. Political conscience is calling to change, and Honduras seems to understand it so.

Colombia sums up years of perseverance. In the country there is practically no sector that does not demand e-voting, and they are leveraged by a long path of electoral deceptions that include new and old illegalities against the people’s intent. Next year there will be general elections, and the political parties are already insisting in complying with the Law that should have enforced automation years ago. For now, the governmental authorities are still deaf to the clamors and are not allocating the necessary resources, but the nation does not seem to falter. Everyone, from the electoral authorities to political and grassroots organizations, are standing strong to refine the system. Proof of this is the fact that there will be a pilot test in September.

Peru is one of the most advanced South American countries in deploying an electoral platform with strong and safe foundations. The ONPE designed its own technology platform and set it at the country’s disposal, but the lack of resources keeps e-voting on standby. Nevertheless, the National Election Jury keeps lobbying for the nation to get out of an outdated system and join the elite of countries where voting is modern.

Finally, Mexico took steps to develop a transparent voting model but failed in the attempt. This happened because it did not set up a clean tender to provide the country with an e-voting system adapted to its necessities. Besides, the selection was done according to political interests when it should have stuck to political criteria. This experience sets a precedent for the path to follow. Rightly so, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) said that the lack of political will is what is keeping this country underdeveloped. For this reason, the political parties and the electoral body keep asking for a solution, but they will get it sooner rather than later because the people are demanding it.

The way four Latin American countries are not losing focus and keep pushing for their electoral systems to be renewed to offer more electoral guarantees is an example to follow. “Move forward” is the motto and everybody is chanting it. This side of the world has good news: change is possible, and in this case, e-voting is the means to achieve it.


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