Audits seek to strengthen e-voting tested by Ecuador


Ecuador

Smartmatic’s machines are already in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. Photo: El Comercio.

Electoral guarantees are the tools that allow a State and its voters to have safe electoral processes, but when it comes to e-voting, all eyes are fixed upon the security offered by the machines and the software designed to exert and process suffrage.

On its path to present the country with an automated system capable of adapting to its necessities, Ecuador did not only prepare a binding e-voting test that will be applied during the 23 February elections, but it will also use three technologies in different constituencies, and in two of them, Azuay and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, the votes registered will be part of the final results. Besides, five audits will take place in order to prove the transparency of the process.

The National Electoral Council’s plan includes conducting five audits, starting one week before the elections. Delegates from political organizations and citizens interested in the process have been invited, and they will be able to carry out different levels of inspection, before, during, and after the electoral event.

The study will cover a pre-dispatch audit, which will verify the transportation of the machines to the electoral venues. Then they will test the installation software, the voting and scrutiny processes, the equipment, and the aggregation system database.

In Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas—where 326,915 citizens are qualified to vote—the machines and software that will be used will be provided by Smartmatic, a multinational company that has held elections in the Philippines, Belgium, Venezuela, the US, and Brazil. The audit possibilities offered by this technology are many, and it has been verified by international observation entities, such as the Carter Center and the European Union.

In the case of Azuay—with a voting registry of 600,000 voters—, e-voting from Magic Software Argentina (MSA) will be used. This technology is also used in the Argentinian province of Salta. The company is pretty scant in presenting the possibilities of auditing the system.

After this account of what Ecuador is preparing, it becomes apparent that complying with all the audits that are necessary to strengthen the security of the elections is one of the goals of e-voting, which is why it’s up to the authorities and parties to decide what revisions to apply to elicit trust from those who will commend their political future to voting machines.

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