Belgian elections: Technology

We have worked with authorities and experts in developing two generations of fully auditable voting systems. The result, a custom-made, robust voting system comprising:

  • Voting machines with touchscreen terminals that print paper audit trails;
  • Smart cards to activate the voting machines;
  • Electronic ballot boxes to scan, register and store ballots;
  • President systems for the polling station officials who control the process;
  • Pen drives that contain the originals and the copies of

the approved system logic;

ballot configuration data;

the digital images of the registered ballot choices;

the counted poll office results per election;

the digital image of the poll office report.

Voting Machines

Belgium has deployed two generations of our voting machines: the SAES-3370 and the A4-517. These 17” touchscreen voting machines facilitate the voter experience by allowing voters to easily make, verify, correct and confirm their choices. A built-in printer produces physical ballots of the selected choices, allowing each voter to audit his ballot before it becomes the official vote.

In the Belgian equipment configuration, the SAES-3370 and the A4-517 work as ballot printing devices. The printer generates a paper record of the selected choices in plain, human-readable text, as well as a QR code. The printed ballot does not become a registered vote until it is scanned and deposited in the electronic ballot box by the voter.

President Machine

The President Machines (PM) help poll workers to conduct the election. In Belgium, two generation of President Machines are used, the Clevo Notebook and the VIU-805.

  • The PMs have four main functions: To activate smartcards that voters use to access the voting machines; to electronically register and store each vote; to count all votes and store the results; and to generate a polling station report. The PMs work in conjunction with peripheral devices.
  • Smart cards: Before entering the polling booth, each voter receives an activated card to use the voting machine. All used cards are automatically deactivated after the voting session and must be returned to the President before leaving the polling station.
  • Smart card reader unit: For the first-generation PM, this unit is connected to an external port via USB. The design of the second-generation PM fully integrates this unit dismissing the need to connect it during set up of the poll office. The unit has a contact chip card activation function that enables poll workers to assign the correct voter’s eligibility profile to access the correct elections on the voting machines.
  • e-Urn (electronic ballot box): This electronic ballot box reads the ballot’s barcode and transfers the data to two separate USB Pen Drives while physically storing the paper ballot of each voter. The e-Urn connects to the PM via a combined power/USB cable.

Smartmatic’s Belgian voting solution for each election

(approximate numbers, incl. contingency, training and test equipment)



Voting Machines


President Machines


eURNs (electronic ballot box)


USB Pen Drives (Master and Backup USB Keys)