During 2019, Argentina will live through two and three national electoral processes, namely, their Open, Simultaneous and Compulsory Primary elections (PASO, for their initials), scheduled for August 11, then the General Elections on October 27, and an eventual second round in November. In all these processes, it is expected that the country ushers in the direct transmission of election results from polling stations.
Last December, Correo Argentino –after a public tender– awarded the transnational firm Smartmatic the development of software for the capture and transmission of electoral data (or “telegrams”). This contract involves the modernization of one of the key stages of the vote, given that from a process one would deem rudimentary, the land transportation of “telegramas” (precinct counts) to the headquarters of the Argentine Post on the night of the election, now the authorities will enjoy the convenience of having each voting center transmit directly to the tabulation center.
According to Correo Argentino, the application will scan the precinct counts in the 15,000 venues that will function as voting centers and transmit them to the national computing center. According to the authorities, in this way the delivery of the final count will be much faster, and in addition the bottlenecks inherent to physical transfer will be removed. Previously the digitization and transportation were made according to order of arrival, but now the dispatch will be more homogeneous.
The automation of transmissions not only will imply speeding up the sending of “telegramas”, but is also expected to reduce human error. The software will read the precinct count’s bar codes, the polling station’s ID, the number of pages and other data, reducing manual input.
In turn, the tool will provide several security layers, and will record information about the operator who captured and transmitted the data, as well as the timestamp, leaving a trace that will help to strengthen the protection of the information delivered.
On the other hand, the authorities are seeking a complete solution for the processing of the provisional results, and hence they are calling for a tender over the provisional count service, which will enable the gathering of the results from the polling stations; the processing; the auditing; the tabulation and the broadcasting of results in real time during the night of the election, which will be available to all interested parties.
Argentina continues advancing in its goal of transforming its voting model with the help of the right technology, leaving behind several years of failed attempts and the decision makers’ lack of interest in leading the country towards a true transformation which allows to overcome past mistakes; and thus deliver a system capable of protecting the vote, and that also facilitates the act of voting and all the stages inherent to modern elections.