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International Elections Advisory Council urge governments to act now and increase trust in elections

United Kingdom, London - June 27, 2017 – This week, Smartmatic’s Advisory Board the IEAC (International Elections Advisory Council), held its annual meeting to identify plans to increase trust in elections.

Composed of eminent leaders in international election best practice, the Board identified the role of technology as crucial to increasing participation, transparency, and speed in order to reinvigorate elections worldwide.

Election systems and protocols are lagging far behind other, more sophisticated, government and business transactions. There are many reasons for this: legacy systems which often date back decades, a lack of incentive for the incumbent party to change a system which saw them succeed, misinformation about security and confusion around recent email hacking scandals in the US.

With election participation and trust in democratic institutions spiraling around the globe, the IEAC sees an urgent need for those who work in elections to consider new ways to mitigate risk, restore trust, and strengthen the democratic process.

The implementation of election technology is proven to:

Increase participation

According to the World Bank’s 2017 World Development Report, election turnout is declining across the world. Over the last 25 years, the average global voter turnout rate dropped by more than 10%. In an increasingly mobile world, election infrastructure needs to be convenient at its core and accessible to everyone, from ex-pats to disabled voters

Enhance transparency

Members of the electorate must be able to verify their vote. The manual system of voting is ‘faith based’, offering voters little control or confidence that their vote counts. In the 2012 London Mayoral Election, almost 50,000 ballots, and five per cent of postal votes, were rejected

Boost speed

Using technology can remove room for error, ensure a speedy result that is 100 per cent accurate and credible, without the costly and time intensive implications of recounts

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Chairman of Smartmatic: “Antiquated, manual voting systems are vulnerable to error, undermining trust in the democratic system. Experience has taught us that we can strengthen participation if we make voting more accessible, easier, and transparent. This should be the ambition of every government, and technology is key to achieving this end.”

Richard W. Soudriette, Chairman of the International Elections Advisory Council (IEAC): “Today, election technology is being utilised around the world; across Africa to improve poll center administration and deter voter identity fraud; in India, the Philippines and Brazil it has enabled accurate and timely results; Switzerland and Estonia have enfranchised oversea voters through online voting. The IEAC meeting provided an exciting opportunity to see the technology first-hand transforming the future of international elections.”