Peruvian authorities face a new challenge for the next elections

On December 10th, 18 Peruvian districts will elect municipal authorities for the first time. Although this vote is not as far reaching when compared to national elections, it will be important because it will be a test run that will show whether the National Office for Electoral Processes (ONPE) managed to sort out the problems that marred last year’s presidential elections.

As you may remember, in 2016 both manual and electronic voting had important setbacks. The former, due to its inability to cope with the challenges posed by close margins -namely the need for a quick and precise count- and the latter owing to its lack of technical updates.

In December, six of the 18 districts that will elect municipal authorities will do so manually, while 12 will use a in-situ e-voting modality designed by the electoral body.

The Peruvian automated voting system consists of a card that must be inserted in the voting machine to activate options (candidates) on a touchscreen. The voter presses the option of their choice, which the system processes and stores, before printing a voting voucher and closing the process.

Another six locations will employ an Automated Counting System (SEA), which uses a computer for the transcription and transmission of results to a tallying centre.

The ONPE has divulged very few details on the improvements made on both voting modalities.  In the case of e-voting, the director of the body’s Regional Coordination Office, Orestes Arpasi Canqui, has only stated that voting will take little time and that results will transmitted quickly.

In addition to that said by Arpasi, it would be ideal for the government body to update the technology, which has remained unchanged for years, and to fix the logistics and preparation for the elections, since in 2016 these shortcomings were clearly evident, as seen in the almost non-existent information that voters and poll workers had.

Peru has only two choices for the 10th: improvement or repeating old mistakes.  Progress in the use and application of e-voting will hinge on this choice. So far, e-voting has been confined to a few districts, when it has all the potential to improve the voting experience for citizens all over the country.


Peru: a late certainty

On June 5th the second round of presidential elections in Peru will be held. Ollanta Humala’s party Gana Perú and Keiko Fujimori’s party Fuerza 2011 will be measured to define the presidency of that country.

The National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) expects to have 100% of the results of the elections’ second round no later than one week, as Rocio Salas said, Planning and Budget Manager of the EMB.

Peru is a country that is still using a manual voting system to choose their principal authorities, but has already proposed the gradual establishment of electronic voting.

On Sunday April 10th, general elections were held in the South American nation. The results forced a runoff as Ollanta Humala won 4’500,196 votes (31.77%) and Keiko Fujimori 3’329,457 votes (23.47%).

In Peru, the President and Vice Presidents are elected by direct suffrage. According to the standard approved by the ONPE, to be chosen, the candidates must obtained more than half of the votes, without counting the invalid and blank votes. If none of the candidates for President and VP got more than half of the valid votes, there will be a second election between the two candidates who received the highest vote.

This was what happened in Peru, and the reason why a new election was called for June 5. There was an uncertainty in the April 10th elections, and it was reported that Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (from the Alliance for the Great Shift – Alianza por el Gran Cambio) could be in contention with Ollanta Humala. However, this information was released when only 18.6% of the votes had been counted. The results with 95% of the votes transmitted were known on Monday April 11th.

With automated voting, unless there’s an obstacle or political interest of the electoral body, the results are known usually the same day of the election. For the second round in Peru, it is uncertain when the results will be disclosed, but the electoral body said that final numbers might take a week.

Peru is aiming at the progressive automation of the vote by introducing electronic voting and has already started to regulate the process. We shall wait and see how the political will so that the modernization of the system can be implemented progressively.

The Peruvian law allows blank vote. In the presidential election there were 1’422.222 blank votes and 431,468 invalid votes. For the Congress, about 20% of the votes were invalid. It must be thoroughly reviewed the voting system of this country.