Belgian elections 2012 - 2014: Technology

As a trusted partner for better-run elections, we have worked alongside authorities and experts to develop a fully auditable voting system, designed specifically to meet the needs of Belgian regulations. The result, a robust voting system comprising: touch screen terminals to capture and print the votes, electronic ballot boxes to scan and register the votes, computers for the polling station officials who control the process, printers to create reports, pen drives that work as external memory sticks, and smart cards to activate the voting machines. Below the technology in greater detail:

SAES-3370 Voting Machine

The SAES-3370 is a voting machine used to directly capture the voter's intent. It is a stand-alone system, meaning that it does not require any connection to a central system in order to function. It has a large 17” Active Color LCD screen that allows for a user-friendly voter experience. Within the Belgian voting solution, SAES-3370 works as a ballot printing device. Its built-in printer creates a paper record of the vote which contains all selections in natural text, as well as a QR type barcode. Such paper does not become a registered vote until it is scanned by the voter using the electronic ballot box.

President Machine (PM)

The President Machine is a key component of Belgium's voting platform. It has two main functions: To activate the voting machines for voting (by means of a smartcard); and, to electronically register each vote cast as it is stored in the ballot box.

The PM works in conjunction with peripheral devices to function properly. These devices are:

  • e-Urn (electronic ballot box): Connects to the PM via USB cable. Before physically storing the paper voucher of each vote, this modern ballot box reads the votes' barcode and transfers the data to two separate USB Pen Drives (mirrored secured storage), that are connected to the PM.
  • Printer: To print reports. It is connected to the PM via USB cable.
  • Smart Cards: Upon arrival to the polling station, each voter receives an activated card in order to start the process with the voting machine. The deactivated card must be returned to the President before leaving the polling place. It is used solely for the activation of the voting machine.
  • Smart card reader unit: It is connected to the PM via USB and allows using the card activation function for the voting machines.

Elements of Smartmatic's Belgian voting solution for each election (approximate numbers, incl. contingency, training and test equipment)

Voting Machines17,500
President Machines3,700
eURNs (electronic ballot box)3,700
USB Pen Drives (Master and Backup USB Keys) 8,400
Smart Cards180,000