Ecuador’s CNE appoints authorities for the next 3 years


Ecuador

Paúl Salazar, newly elected president of the CNE, salutes his new vice president, Mauricio Tayupanta, after inauguration. Photo: El Tiempo

On January 8th, 2015, the new board of the National Council of Ecuador was elected. Paul Salazar and Mauricio Tayupanta were appointed president and vice president, respectively. Moreover, Juan Pablo Pozo and Nubia Villacís were re-elected as counselors.

Mr. Salazar assumed his new role in the institution proposing an internal review in order to implement reforms conducive to higher efficiency. To this end, he indicated that he considers it necessary to carry out a deep, all-encompassing reform in the operational and legal areas of the Democracy Code.

With the appointment of these new authorities, president Domingo Paredes’ term ended. He led the institution for only three years. One of Paredes’ merits was to achieve a significant international projection for the CNE. During his term, he promoted important agreements with electoral authorities from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Russia, which enabled successful e-voting pilots in the provinces of Azuay and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. On the other hand, Paredes’s impartiality was questioned by those opposing the government of President Correa. Besides, he was strongly criticized for the way he handled certain situations, such as the invalidation of signatures to register political parties, or the failed tallying of precinct counts provided by Scytl, a process whose purpose was to hasten the official results from the past sectional elections.

Regarding electoral automation, Paúl Salazar is ready to meet the scheduled timeline set by the previous administration, in which he served as vice president. In sight there is the goal of automating 5 important provinces by 2017: Azuay, Guayas, Manabí, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, and Pichincha. Furthermore, the goal of an automation system able to cover a 100% of the electorate by 2021 does not look too ambitious, in light of the significant lengths advanced in 2014. As a systems engineer, and given the leading role he had in the automation process held during the last elections, Mr. Salazar definitely is well endowed to set this project in motion.

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2015, a year with a broad electoral scope


electoral process

At least 26 countries will go to the polls during 2015.

26 countries will experience electoral processes during 2015. These will be predominantly for the renovation of legislative bodies, as 19 territories will be electing parliament representatives, while eight nations will vote for presidents and two will carry out referenda.

The most intense electoral environment will focus on Europe, where 10 countries will hold elections using manual voting. Switzerland -a pioneer in different e-voting models, will hold elections where it will test out on-site automated suffrage as well as online voting. This way, suffrage will be possible not only for citizens within the national territory, but also for those living abroad.

The rest of European countries holding elections will continue entrenched in traditional suffrage. However, after approving a law that enables system automation in 2006, Finland is evaluating electoral technology used around the world in order to adopt the one they deem most adequate. The country will hold Parliament elections in April.

On the other hand, Africa and the Americas will hold 6 elections this year. Several nations in the Americas will conduct pilot tests in order to modernize their suffrage. Mexico, for instance, will implement an e-voting pilot test facing its Congress elections in June. Meanwhile, Argentina will reconfirm its allegiance to automated tallying.

Argentinians will have a very active electoral calendar, which will kick off on February 8th with primary elections in some regions and might end in November in case there is a runoff for the October presidentials. A few areas of this nation already have laws establishing the automation of processes, and some districts began to use it in 2011. However, there is no nationwide government plan to enable the adoption of technology across the nation. In spite of this, several provinces will test out the difference between automation and manual voting. Electronic tallying will make a huge difference in the way votes are tallied and aggregated in the country.

While Guatemala will hold general elections in September, albeit showing no signs of advancement to overcome the flaws of manual voting (there was an automated suffrage pilot test in 2002, but since then the implementation of technology has stagnated); Canada expects six of its provinces to essay e-voting, as approved in 2011. These are Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

In light of this report, 2015 is guaranteed to be a year of electoral challenges for many nations. This will also represent an opportunity to confirm, once again, that electoral automation technology is undoubtedly the most beneficial tool to safeguard the people’s intent.

Latin America took decisive steps toward e-voting on 2014


elecciones-2014

2014 elections as reviewed on this infographic by The Economist

2014 could be considered “an electoral feast” as 42% of the world’s population was called to vote. Such staggering number was set due to the fact that 42 countries carried out elections, and among them, 10 from Latin America.

The balance of the year for Latin America shows Brazil further strengthening its supremacy in electoral automation, while Panama, Paraguay, Costa Rica and Ecuador taking firm steps to modernizing their voting systems.

Ecuador carried out the most complex test, as it experimented with two different technologies during the February elections. The province of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas used Smartmatic’s touchscreen voting machines that print a vote receipt on paper. Meanwhile, in Azuay, the electoral body deployed an electronic tallying system designed by Argentina’s MSA.

Paraguay, which joined the elite of countries with electoral regulations for the implementation of e-voting in 2013, announced that it is currently evaluating whether it will repeat last year’s experience, in which 17,000 Brazilian voting machines were used.

Costa Rica showed its people the technology it hopes to adopt for the upcoming 2016 elections, by letting voters interact with the voting machines designed by the High Electoral Court (TSE).

Meanwhile, during its general elections in May, Panama tested out technology developed by the Electoral Court (TE), which reproduces features from systems already tested in other countries, such as a card-activated touchscreen machine displaying candidates to press on in order to vote.

Peru became the only “black spot” in a year of electoral successes. Instead of building on the system designed designed by the National Office for Electoral Processes (ONPE), the nation opted to approve a not very transparent tender bid for the development of the automated system’s software. This has sparked a lot of problems, and will force the country to revise its application in future elections.

Finally, Brazil once again showed the world why it is considered one of the world leaders in vote automation. Its large, election-tested platform was deployed twice in October.