Two facets of the debate over e-voting were revealed during the visit Tibisay Lucena, president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, made to Dominican Republic: the exportation of electoral technology and the fact that bi-national cooperation shortens the path to the adoption of voting technology.
Venezuela offered the Caribbean nation as many voting machines as it needs to implement e-voting. Their use would be free for at least the first trials.
The possibility that Venezuela is offering the Dominicans is of utmost importance, as it provides benefits to both parties: while the receiving end gets to have a proven voting model, the sponsoring party can show the world its advances in electoral automation and stimulate its application in other regions.
Venezuela, which initiated migration from manual to electronic voting in 1998, spun around its technology in 2004 when it began automating suffrage in its entirety. Nowadays, it has a system that is capable of identifying each voter, voting, scrutinizing, tallying, and transmitting results with the support of devices and programs. Besides, its e-voting model is auditable in all of its stages.
The experience of the South American country will be replicated for now in the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. This way Dominican Republic, a country with a history of electoral problems and irregularities, will be able to take the leap to modernity in 2016 and deliver its citizens a safe electoral mechanism. The president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), Roberto Rosario, already calculated that if adopted, the acquisition of this technology would cost 15 million dollars.
Change always entails its costs, but when it comes to guaranteeing the people’s will, the investment is directed at strengthening Democracy. Venezuela understood so, and after more than 10 elections with flawless results, it is about to export its e-voting model. Moreover, Dominican Republic is joining the group of nations that left doubtful elections full of flaws behind in order to seek development, thus protecting its political future.