Parties give lessons in automation too


Militants from the Union for a Popular Movement in France voted online.

The last weekend of November, two political parties from countries located not only in different continents, but aligned to opposite segments of the political spectrum, held elections to renew their authorities. One point in common: both of them used e-voting.

While in France, the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) decided to use electoral automation through the means of online voting for the first time, in Venezuela, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) benefitted from the electoral technology the nation has been using since 2004.

France’s UMP took a crucial step toward the modernization of its electoral system by generating an online suffrage application, which enabled its militants to choose the party president. Nicolás Sarkozy won the election. According to a report from the political organization, voting through digital means was welcome by 58.1% of the registry’s 155,801 voters. This exorcised the doubts that had hung over the 2012 manual election.

During the event, the UMP didn’t only succeed in the application of e-voting, but also came out triumphant from different cyberattacks perpetrated against the electoral platform, servers included. The party has informed that it has filed a claim to try to identify those who tried to cheat the electorate.

While the UMP militants became pioneers in the use of e-voting in France, in Venezuela the PSUV tested automated suffrage once again. They were able to fulfill successfully a three-week electoral cycle (different events for each party roster) by renting the voting machines the nation uses to elect its authorities.

The South American country’s electoral model is based on the use of touchscreen machines, which allow for an easy selection of preferred options and its confirmation before casting the ballot. After suffrage, the device prints a vote receipt on paper, which registers each voter’s selection. This software enables the machines to store, tally, aggregate, and transmit results safely and in an entirely automated manner. It is also designed to guarantee audits for all stages of the process.

These two parties resorted to e-voting in order to offer their voters the opportunity to interact with an electoral system that is capable of adapting to the needs of any electoral group, and at the same to offer guarantees such as speed, security, transparency, and auditability.

Party elections are an example of how numerous organizations around the world, which do not have anything in common or pursue very different goals, are all utilizing the versatility of electoral technology. Its advances have made multiple solutions designed to optimize electoral processes available not only to governments but to any association.