Peru obligated to review its electoral system

History repeats itself, and it seems there is no will for it to change.  This is one of the concussions drawn from the second voting round of the Peruvian presidential election carried out on June 5th, after which the country plunged into uncertainty due to a common enough scenario in any election: a close margin.

Although the final vote tally showed that the difference between Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peruanos por el Kambio (PPK) and Keiko Fujimori from Fuerza Popular was only 42,697 votes, that is only 0.48% of the total, the reality is that this minuscule difference that granted victory to the PPK has been seen before and will be seen again anywhere else in the world. That is because the people’s will is a variable capable of generating truly improbable results.

However, the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) was not prepared to answer to a highly polarized nation.  Not only did the office not started counting as soon as the polls closed, but it also took them four days to publish a report with an irreversible count, and a whole week to deliver final results.

Peru is therefore obligated to review its electoral system Although the country has legislation in place to modernize voting and has even designed an electronic vote model which has been undergoing testing for years, the electoral authorities have not been up to the challenges that come from implementing technology that would let them handle any election or result.

For instance, instead of moving onwards with voting machines and strengthening the corresponding security features, during the first round of voting on April 10th the number of voting circuits using automation had to be reduced, while the results for these elections and for those in June were negative.

The reasons for the misuse of e-voting in Peru are rooted in the ONPE, which despite following the best practices in the region during the design of their electronic voting system, have neglected its improvement. They have also neglected the logistics and preparation work for the elections; this was made clear in the last elections, when the insufficient or inexistent information given to the voters and poll workers made the voting significantly more cumbersome.

Recent facts force the Inca nation to improve their voting system. The risks associated with delaying the announcement of electoral results due to the inefficiency of the system must be calculated, so that the nation can go on a correction course and safeguard their electoral future.