Honduras is one of the democracies in Latin America that has a large number of violence related problems. The national authorities, in addition to presenting plans to lower the crime rate, have also focused on offering the country more and better electoral guarantees, knowing that transparent elections are a synonym of peace and trust on democracy.
After two years of announcements, the Congress of Honduras finally began discussion rounds with the country’s 10 political parties to initiate an electoral reform facing the 2017 general elections.
In light of these debates, the nation is aiming for ambitious changes, given that the modifications being discussed are all on a large scale: setting limits to presidential re-election, getting citizens involved to work at the polls; controlling campaign financing through a Law for Financing, Transparency and Control; establishing a second voting round, approving the election of deputies by district, and expanding the representation of political parties at the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) and the National People Registry.
These aspects are not the only ones; adding to the topics of organization, control and logistics, the parties have expressed that the nation must modernize its voting system through e-voting.
The request comes from the fact that Hondurans have had to endure and resign themselves to failures during almost every past voting event, as well as the vices characteristic to manual voting: delays in the delivery of results, numerical inconsistencies, flaws in the statements of vote, double voting, etc. These anomalies have plagued even the latest presidential elections.
Three years ago, the Supreme Electoral Court set in motion a procedure for the transmission of electoral results, but the inadequacy of the selected method did away with its goals, and the delivery of results was delayed yet again, hurting the electorate’s trust.
This scenario does not need to repeat itself if Congress keeps focusing on improving Honduran electoral practices. Its president Mauricio Oliva stated that after the first debate there was enough information gathered to begin a second round of discussions, where a consensus should be reached.
Although negotiations still have a long way to go, it is a positive fact that this nation can discuss the options offered by technology to anchor democratic stability through a modern voting system. Electronic voting has been useful to resolve highly polarized elections, and has been remarkably successful in cases of demanding elections, e.g. with a complex infrastructure, close results and hundreds of simultaneous races, while delivering results that are proven beyond doubt.