E-voting detractors usually use any internal differences that might arise in a country, or political frictions coming with the adoption of electoral technology, to try to discredit its use. However, the reality is that automation is far from falling back or stagnating. In fact, it has expanded well beyond constitutional elections.
Progress in technology has not only allowed Democracy to use multiple solutions designed to improve the processes entailed by an electoral event, but its versatility is also being utilized by the many organizations that must choose authorities, approve or reject initiatives, allow or halt grassroots proposals, or approve or object to draft legislations around the globe.
Thus, it is common nowadays for universities, professional guilds, political parties, grassroots associations, parliaments, city halls, or other kind of organizations to use e-voting to offer their voters the opportunity to interact with a voting system that can adapt to their needs and guarantee speed, security, transparency, and auditability.
Within Latin America, countries like Argentina, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Spain, and Venezuela have experimented with automated elections within student, political, or social organizations, replicating the successful results shown in traditional elections becoming automated around the world.
These processes usually employ either of the two most widely used e-voting models: one is the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) system, which consists in the use of touchscreen machines that enable voting, storing votes, aggregating them, and transmitting them to a computing center, as well as printing a physical vote receipt for each voter’s selection. The second alternative is called PCOS (Precinct-Count Optical Scan), which is based on the use of a ballot box with an optical scanner that identifies ballots and processes votes in order to count them automatically.
The aforementioned examples are just a few of the areas where electoral technology can provide more specialized software and hardware for all the stages of a voting process. These and other globally renowned mechanisms have helped to tear down barriers and enable versatility to become an indisputable ally in the expansion of e-voting.