Electoral scandal brings up need for e-voting in Argentina


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Tucumán gathered political actors around e-voting (Photo: puntoapartesanluis.com.ar)

Argentina’s presidentials are approaching, after a long and complex electoral calendar that is still riddled with problems.

From cancelled projects, detected flaws, allegations of fraud, and technical faults that occurred throughout several electoral events, the situation evolved into one of the country’s largest scandals in recent history: the August 23 elections in Tucumán had to be annulled due to fraud, only to have this decision revoked by the province’s high court.

The Supreme Court is expected to solve the controversy, but this touchy episode has become a tipping point for Argentina’s electoral system. Numerous voices have come together in support of e-voting, stressing the problems that manual voting has brought upon the country.

Currently, provinces like Salta and Buenos Aires are using a model that enables automated tallying. However, although this technology has performed acceptably, it also reveals faults that make it insufficient to safeguard the people’s intent from human error or electoral fraud.

The Radical Civil Union (UCR) is one of the entities championing electoral automation. They have stated: “in light of the recent irregularities seen in local and national elections, this change is urgent, and its goal is to provide the transparency and efficiency for the most important act in modern democracy: elections.”

Buenos Aires deputy and candidate to the Chivilcoy intendency, Guillermo Britos, requested to “advance with e-voting, which will give more transparency and modernity to the democratic system”, while criticizing the fact that “they still vote with a seven-part ballot.” Meanwhile, the Neuquén candidate to the Confluence Council, Néstor Burgos, supported the use of e-voting and invited the electorate “not to be afraid” of electronic ballots.

Senator Danilo Capitani joined the debate insisting on a law facilitating automation. “New technologies can and must be an essential tool to provide transparency and improve citizen participation in the fundamental act of democracy,” he stated.

There is also pressure from the academic arena to stop using ballots and modernize voting. Armando de Giusti, professor at UNLP and main researcher for CONICET, pointed out that “after the current electoral process is finished, we must analyze the use of technological resources in the elections in Argentina.”

With this ongoing discussion, the country must take this bad experience and turn it into an opportunity to safeguard Argentinian vote, including against those who strive to cheat the will of the people. By joining forces around e-voting, political actors seem to have begun to understand this.

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