Various stakeholders, including political parties, analysts and the media, joined Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials to sample the stand-alone electronic vote machine, which is expected to be debuted at the 2019 general elections. To avoid disruptions during the power cuts, the machines use batteries, and are not connected to a data network. The portable and light machine allows a voter to first check if they have voted for a party of their choice before selecting a candidate by pressing a button. While several companies were invited to demonstrate their own voting machines yesterday, only Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) turned up, with analysts saying this placed the Indian company in poll position for the tender to supply the machines. BEL machines are already in use in Namibia, one of the few African countries using electronic voting.
IEC secretary Gabriel Seeletso said one of the potential companies could not meet the standards required for the stand-alone electronic voting machine. He said the machines would ease long queues during elections, while drastically reducing the time it takes for results to be known.
“We want to avoid the situation of long queues. Again we don’t want a situation where people wait for hours for counting and verification for results to come out. “With these machines, it may take roughly two hours after voting for the results to be known.