Two months before Namibians head to the polls, the Electoral Commission of Namibia has only half of the electronic voting machines required to hold successful elections. The Namibian reported in May this year that the ECN had planned to purchase 3 500 additional EVMs for the national and presidential elections at the cost of N$30 million, in order to supplement the current 3 500 EVMs. However, this has not happened. ECN director of operations Theo Mujoro yesterday said they are aware that the current number of machines would not be sufficient to cover the elections and therefore there is a need to purchase more. “The machines will be available by mid-October to supplement the current number that is in our possession, “ said Mujoro. He added that for each polling station, there will be two ballot units connected to a control unit which allows the voter to cast their vote like in a ballot election and in this way to replicate the manual election process. The EVM consists of a ballot unit, a control unit and a tabulator with printers.
… Earlier, Law Reform and Development Commission chairperson Sacky Shanghala cautioned the ECN on the use of EVMs without the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). The VVPAT allows the voter to have their vote verified through a receipt-like paper that serves as proof that the vote has gone to the political party of their choice.
Shanghala had pointed out that the lack of the paper trail will disturb the peace in the country and create turmoil, should the EVMs system crash. He said the use of the VVPAT allows room for transparency and to guard against fears that the machines may be pre-programmed.
The amended Electoral Bill states that the use of voting machines “is subject to the simultaneous utilisation of a verifiable paper trail for every vote cast by a voter and any vote cast is verified by a count of the paper trail”.