Automation and the challenges of the International Electoral Community

Pointe aux Piments, June 8th 2013.- The organization of efficient and transparent voting processes is one of the great challenges faced by electoral organisms in the 21st century. Luckily, automation, an irreversible global trend, is providing specific answers to each of these challenges.  

In order to discuss these topics, members of the electoral commissions of several countries around the globe and providers of technology aimed at facilitating the organization and conduction of electoral processes met in Mauritius.

This meeting, the 6th International Electoral Affairs Symposium, took place between May 27 and 29, and was the ideal frame for a fruitful exchange of experiences.

The benefits of electoral automation in all its stages; the importance of e-voting, its foundations, advantages and challenges; biometrics as a tool to guarantee the “one voter, one vote” principle; election management software; the added value of voting machines – these were some of the topics discussed.

Among the talks, we can highlight the one regarding voting systems across the Asian continent, delivered by Aziz Yusof, Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Malaysia, and Helen G. Aguila-Flores, Deputy Executive Director for Administration of the Filipino Commission on Elections.

One of the most important presentations of the symposium, centered on the importance of automation and e-voting, was given by the President of Smartmatic Asia Pacific, César Flores.

Eduardo Correia, Vicepresident of the Smartmatics Elections Business Unit, disclosed the benefits of automation at every stage of the electoral cycle in one of the several interactive workshops. It is important to highlight that nowadays technology offers options to improve the efficiency and transparency of every single process that makes up an election.

An interesting subject that was discussed in the several workshops was Ghana’s recent experience during the 2012 national elections. The African nation adopted biometric technology to register its voters and later check their identities on Election Day.  

Electoral education was also present in the talks; the subject was covered by Charles Lasham, Director of Electoral Affairs of the ICPS, who also was in charge of closing the event.