E-Voting: India and the Philippines – A Comparative Analysis for Possible Adaptation in Africa

E-Voting: India and the Philippines – A Comparative Analysis for Possible Adaptation in Africa

Surendra Thakur (Durban University of Technology, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6296-4.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter contributes to the debate around e-voting by describing and discussing the experiences of two adopting countries: India and the Philippines. With careful, qualified comparison of the experience, the author overviews the possibility for adoption in Africa. Africa often finds itself at the centre of attention with respect to elections. This regrettably relates to extreme violence, civil disobedience, and fraudulent activities. Will e-voting be the panacea for her problems? This chapter also provides a snapshot of current international e-voting experiences with respect to trailing, piloting, adopting, and even abandoning this practice. A challenge with electronic voting is that the voting machines are susceptible to sometimes undetectable changes by insiders, outsiders, and hackers who may or may not have ulterior motives. Opportunities, on the other hand, include inter alia neutral, faster, more accurate ballot counting. The chapter concludes with a contextual African evaluation of India's and the Philippines's respective e-voting experiences.
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Background

The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is pervasive. Its increasing use in elections is therefore unsurprising. ICT is now used, inter alia, in back office Electoral Management Boards (EMB) operational activities, communication for information dissemination such as election results, voter education, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assist in demarcating voter districts.

ICT helps in data information system(s) to create, store, and update voter registration information; to capture and tally votes (e-voting); with auditing; to statistically analyse results for voter irregularities; with predictive algorithms and more recently as a tool to observe elections through inter alia netbooks, tablets, mobiles, and cameras (Thakur, 2011).

An important and difficult requirement of e-voting systems is to ensure that the vote cast is secret, that there is no link whatsoever between the vote cast and the vote captured, and that the integrity of the vote is secure in that the vote cast is the vote counted.

Most software programs and operating systems record the date and time a record is created, or issues a sequence number to allow for system audits to assist when a system crashes. As both of these events can be replayed, one may, with appropriate video monitoring outside a booth, predict who cast a vote for whom for most of the day (Thakur, 2012).

E-voting machines are referred to by many names. In the West they are called Direct Recording Electronics (DRE), or DRE Voter Verifiable Audit Trail (DRE/VVAT); in South America urnas; in India Electronic Voting machines (EVM) and in the Philippines Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS).

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