Around six million Pakistani citizens are residents of other countries and many of them are eligible to vote. With e-voting being trialled around the world the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) was tasked with finding an internet solution to their voting needs. It did so and duly submitted a proposal to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which set up a task force to investigate the proposal and its viability — and it now stands rejected. The Internet Voting Task Force (IVTF) conducted a technical audit of the proposed i-Vote and found there were flaws, specifically risks to the transparent conduct of voting.
This must not be seen as an attempt to deprive overseas voters of a fundamental right, and the IVTF has recommended that the inclusion of overseas Pakistanis be via postal or embassy voting. Neither is ideal but both have the advantage of being extremely difficult to influence — neither system, manual as it is can be hacked or in other ways electronically influenced and the same cannot be said of i-Vote. With six million votes at stake overseas voters are a significant minority within the wider electorate, a minority large enough to influence the outcome of a national poll.
The concern was that the e-voting system may facilitate vote buying and voter coercion in areas and countries where the ECP has no mandate to investigate or prosecute such activities. Countries which have adopted an e-vote for overseas nationals have much smaller numbers than does Pakistan, which are unlikely to be at all significant in terms of national outcomes. With allegations of rigging attendant upon every poll conducted in Pakistan whether based on fact or assumption, this is a hot-button issue and the IVTF has called it right. Back to the drawing board.
Full Article: The vulnerable e-vote | The Express Tribune.