Namibians voting in their presidential election will become the first in Africa to use electronic voting. It has been 25 years since Namibia’s first democratic elections, and for the first time 1.2 million people are expected to cast their votes electronically in the country’s fifth election since independence. “The decision to consider acquiring electronic voting machines was primarily based on some challenges and experiences that we have had in the manner and way we manage our elections,” the electoral commission’s Theo Mujoro told China’s CCTV. The voters will cast their ballots for presidential and parliamentary candidates on separate machines, chunky slabs of green and white plastic with the names and images of candidates and their party affiliation that make a loud beep after each vote. “The younger people get it first time, but the older ones you have to explain a little,” said presiding officer Hertha Erastus.
The voting modules will not be connected externally to any sources to prevent tampering, and the commission hopes electronic voting will reduce queues and speed up counting.
Opposition parties had launched an 11th-hour court challenge to stop the vote from going ahead, saying the use of the Indian-made e-voting machines could facilitate vote rigging. The High Court in Windhoek dismissed the case.
“There is merit about the electronic voting machines not having a paper trail. The paper trail issue is a very fundamental issue,” opposition presidential candidate Mchenry Venaani told CCTV. “But I think all the parties that are complaining now had ample time to take government, or whoever, to court earlier, than coming to stop elections two days before the election.”