Ecuador will test out four models of e-voting, one of them being a system that uses touchscreen machines.
E-voting will become a reality for Ecuador. The National Electoral Council (CNE) approved the completion of a pilot test on February 14, during the regional elections, in order to measure the operative and technical effectiveness of the automated voting system, and at the same time to determine the financial and logistic requirements needed to extend the use of electoral technology to the whole nation.
The stipulated plan contemplates that next week CNE will present the rough draft of the rules of procedure for automated voting, and that it will decide the e-voting model that Azuay (599,000 voters), the chosen province to try automation for the first time, will use from among four companies.
The electoral organ is analyzing the propositions presented by Smartmatic, a London-based transnational; MSA (Magic Software), from Argentina; Panama’s Voting Solutions, and Orbiscorp, from Spain.
According to information offered by Juan Pablo Pozo, CNE advisor, among the alternatives offered by these four companies, it is possible to find e-voting models that include “suffrage through a touchscreen that allows to choose candidates, a physical electronic ballot with a chip that registers each voter’s selection, a voting system with touchscreen and optical pencil that registers each vote through coordinates established in the ballot.”
They hope to achieve certain premises, such as having machines capable of attending 350 voters per device at most with a $7 million budget, and that the technology used “is convenient for the Ecuadorian system and appropriate for the country’s reality.” Ecuador’s upcoming decision is as important as the step the country took towards e-voting. Choosing the most suitable technology for its idiosyncrasy, one that is capable of covering its technical needs, is vital for the success of a plan that seeks to leave behind a 100% manual electoral system that can no longer maintain its fairness. Besides, the chosen system must guarantee that each citizen’s vote is faithfully tallied.
CNE stated that the country is committed to the development of its electoral system and the automation of elections within four years. The available technology and decision-making process signal that another Latin American nation is ready to take a step forward in the modernization of suffrage.