The versatility of e-voting

Mexico will elect neighborhood committees with e-voting. Photo: El Financiero

The path from manual to electronic voting opens opportunities for civic, political, educational, and social organizations, as the public debate that comes with the consideration of automation allows this groups to come closer to the idea of adopting electoral technology to elect their authorities.

Multiple regions take advantage of this possibility. Universities, civic associations, unions, and even legislative bodies have left their fears aside and have modernized their voting systems, revealing thus the versatility of e-voting.

For example, this year, numerous organizations will vote using equipment that will allow them to carry out clean, simple, and secure elections. The National University of Distance Learning (UNED for its initials in Spanish) in Spain is currently carrying out the electoral campaign to renew their authorities, and suffrage will be electronic. UNED will be the first higher education institution in this European country to automate its elections. In order to be able to vote, potential electors are required to fulfill one of the following requirements: official e-mail address, smart electronic card, or digital accreditation certificate.

Mexico is keeping pace. For the first time the country will formally use a variation of e-voting to elect the neighborhood committees of the Federal District. On September 1st, 1796 representatives will be elected through the Internet. The National Autonomous University of Mexico, along with the National Polytechnic Institute, assumed the technical aspects of the process.

Another experience to highlight is the one carried out by the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) last April. Students elected their authorities through Internet voting, thus speeding up results and making them safer. In order to exert suffrage, voters needed a token and a unique personal password to access the system.

The bet for automation in areas different from traditional elections is also evidenced in the petition made by the highest electoral authority in Colombia, Carlos Ariel Sánchez. He proposed that e-voting should be used for the renewal of the Bogotá City Council in order to overcome the disadvantages brought by manual voting, such as the difficulty to vote and the complexity of scrutiny.

These cases are just a small sample of how the possibility of optimizing the election of representatives in any area through e-voting is advancing steadily, even in countries that have not automated their suffrage yet.

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