Electronic voting: a trend that’s come to Ecuador

Of the world’s 3.1 billion voters, around 1.1 billion (35%) vote using automated systems.

It’s a number that’s constantly growing as more and more electoral commissions discover the benefits.

Why automate?

  • No human error – intentional or involuntary
  • Increased auditability and transparency
  • No subjectivity in decision making
  • Faster processes: voting, counting, publishing results and verification, etc.
  • Guaranteed vote secrecy and security

Total vs partial automation

Smartmatic’s solution in Ecuador was 100% automated – meaning that there was no room for human error. More than that, however, voters could leave the polling station knowing their vote had been counted correctly, thanks to their paper voting receipts.

Paper trail

Ever since Smartmatic carried out the world’s first election using voting machines producing printed vouchers in 2004, verifiable voting has become a global trend.

The voucher our machines printed in Ecuador allowed voters in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas to verify their choices. It also made post-voting verification much easier as well.

To guarantee total transparency, our technology also offered one physical and two electronic records for every phase of the process. This paper record of every step generated what we call a paper trail, or voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT).

Remember these elections piloted three technologies in three areas. While ours provided this crucial paper trail, the technology employed in the area of La Morita (Quito) did not. Neither did the solution in Azuay. It registered votes in a ballot. At the end of the day a poll station worker manually fed them into a machine for counting. Had the ballot been destroyed, the vote would have been lost.