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Electoral Symposium 2014

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Benefits of EVMs

Benefits of Electronic Voting Machines

By: Barney Karuuombe, Commissiner of Elections

Presentation to the Electoral Symposium

21st October, Elections House, Windhoek, Namibia

History and Context of EVMs in Namibia

  • Namibia will be making history in that we will be the first African country to use the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Already in use
  • The proposal to use EVMs in Namibia’s elections dates back to 2004
  • Leaders and Representatives of Political Parties including MPs were afforded an opportunity to be exposed to the EVMs and their use (In India)
  • Practical Demonstrations of EVMs were done to the Leadership
  • The delay in the counting of results in the 2009 particular increased the call for more efficient mechanisms for voting and results counting, hence the introduction of EVMs

EVMS and the Law

  • The use of Electronic Voting Machines was legal even in the previous law Electoral Act no. 24 of 1992 as amended
  • The Electoral Act (2014) Section 97 clearly provide for the use of EVMs
  • In addition, ECN gazetted Regulations which provide a step-by step guidelines to the use of EVMs (first level check, transporting, actual use, etc. )
  • The new law was gazetted as such that the Minister of RLGH may at a point in future introduce the inclusion of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) on the EVMs

Benefits/Advantages of EVMs

  • EVMs enhances speed and accuracy in the the voting and counting process
  • With the use of EVMs, the possibility of human error in the counting is eliminated
  • Invalid and rejected votes will be something of the past. These lost votes can constitute a lost parliamentary seat
  • With effective Voter Education, EVMs are easy to use for the ordinary voter
  • Gradually, the use of EVMs reduce cost in that the machines are used over and over and the cost of printing millions of ballot papers disappear
  • EVMs are stand-alone machines which are tamper-proof and not connected to other electronic devices
  • EVMs can be used where there is no electricity and in adverse whether conditions
  • Finally, the myths about the unreliability of EVMs/ susceptibility to tempering are unfounded

Conclusion

  • Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) have become part of our lives, we need to move with the times
  • The use of EVMs in Namibia is legal and the few by elections proofed that indeed we can do it
  • ECN procured the required number of machines and they are being subjected to the required pre-testing/firs level checks

>>View the document in PDF


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