Three companies will put e-voting to the test in Peru

Peru’s Onpe designed a voting machine, but it will test out technology from three foreign companies.

ImageOn July 7th, Peru will once again carry on the task of showing the country the benefits e-voting can bring to the electoral system. The National Office for Electoral Processes (ONPE) invited three companies to test out the effectiveness of their technology in the Cañete district in the town of Pacarán, during the recall referendum for municipal authorities.

The foreign expert companies deploying their faculties in Peru are Smartmatic, a London-based multinational, Colombia’s Voting Solutions, and Argentina’s Magic Software Argentina (MSA). The goal for all of them is to exhibit what their electoral technology can do to modernize suffrage. ONPE’s call for next month is a good opportunity to show the world the advances that allow different countries in the region, as well as others from Europe and Asia, to have safe and reliable automated elections nowadays.

Smartmatic will show in Peru a technology that can cover all the stages of the elections in their entirety, from project management (logistics, recruiting, and training) up to satellite communication services, plus all the equipment to hold a completely automated voting event. Smartmatic´s solution for Peru involves biometric devices to authenticate the voters at the polling station, and touch screen voting machines to capture the voters´ intent. All of this while scrutiny, tallying, and transmission are done electronically. The equipment has modules to facilitate voting for citizens with motor, visual, and hearing disabilities.

Colombia’s Voting Solutions will work with a touch screen machine that contains a kit for the visually challenged (number keyboard and headphones). It also has an “administrative terminal” to incorporate the voting registry and thus identify voters for giving them access to the machines. Besides, it offers the option of biometry and digital signature.

The third invited company is Argentina’s MSA. Their machine works with software that allows the voter to “navigate” through the options to vote. It has a printer that reproduces the vote, and it also has mechanisms to store selections digitally in a chip. The machine also has a vote verifier and an assistance kit for the visually challenged.

These companies will accompany Peru in the new electoral event, and although at first glance they might seem to have similarities in the components of their equipment, they are vastly different in their method to shield suffrage and the whole process (encrypting, digital signatures, auditing possibilities), as well as in their capacity to attend to the production requirements. ONPE will have to consider which system adapts best to its necessities and select the most appropriate one to carry out its so-called litmus test: next November’s complementary elections. In this event, voting will be automated in two districts in Lima, where 1 million people are expected to vote.

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