Namibia: Ballot Papers to Return in November Elections | Kuzeeko Tjitemisa/New Era

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has confirmed it will use the manual ballot papers in the upcoming regional council and local authority elections, saying the electoral body would not be in a position to afford voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) devices to allow for electronic voting. According to the ECN, the situation is exacerbated by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Briefing the media last week, ECN chairperson Notemba Tjipueja said they have taken note of the views expressed by a sizeable portion of stakeholders against the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without the VVPAT or paper trail – a matter that was the bone of contention in a Supreme Court case. “We also wish to note that the cost of acquiring the VVPAT devices, including development of prototype, customisation, shipment and operator training and voter education, is estimated at N$132 927 642,” she said. Furthermore, Tjipueja said, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced both private and public sector organisations to change and re-engineer business processes. “Operating and voting by use of EVMs involves substantial touching of equipment both during the first level check, candidate setting as well as the actual casting of votes,” she said.

South Africa: Electronic voting being considered, as ANC’s national working committee discusses challenges facing local elections | Lizeka Tandwa/News24

The ANC’s national working committee (NWC) has discussed a range of possibilities, including electronic voting for next year’s local elections. News24 recently reported that the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is in consultation to possibly postpone next year’s local government elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During its Monday meeting, the NWC said it discussed a range of responses on these and other challenges impacting next year’s electoral system. It includes a synchronisation of elections at national, provincial and local spheres of government; introducing elements of constituency-based representation at national and provincial spheres, consistent with the constitutional requirement for an electoral system that results, in general, in proportional representation; and the use of electronic voting.

Kenya: Kenya’s long journey to electronic voting system | John Kamau/Daily Nation

When President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the controversial Election Laws (Amendment) Bill into law in January this year and allowed the use of a manual back-up in case the electronic system failed, the Opposition threatened to call for mass action. The law allowed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use “a complementary mechanism for identification of voters and transmission of election results” in case the gadgets failed. Although the commission’s CEO Ezra Chiloba said voters would be  identified electronically, and that the manual system would only be used in the event that the former failed, the Opposition claimed that a manual voting system would allow ghost voters to participate in the elections, and termed the laws a plot by Jubilee to rig. The circus on the kind of electoral system that Kenya should embrace has been windy and controversial. The Nasa presidential candidate wanted only an electronic system, with no manual back-up, and his lawyer Paul Mwangi went to court to compel IEBC to stop the plan.

South Korea: Election watchdog demonstrates ballot-counting process to dispel ‘rigging’ claims | Park Han-na/Korea Times

South Korea’s election watchdog demonstrated the ballot-counting process to the public in a mock version on Thursday, intent on debunking vote-rigging allegations raised by a lawmaker who lost his seat in the April 15 parliamentary election. The National Election Commission carried out the demonstration at its headquarters in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, setting up a hypothetical situation where 1,000 out of 4,000 eligible voters cast ballots in advance polls for four constituency candidates and 35 political parties for proportional representation. The commission’s officials disassembled electronic machines used in last month’s election and explained how they work in an effort to prove the impossibility of rigging an election. One of the machines classifies ballot papers according to the choice of candidate and counts them. Another machine assesses the validity of the votes.

Nigeria: Electronic Voting Starts 2021 – INEC | Abbas Jimoh/Daily Trust

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will introduce electronic voting (e-voting) in off-season elections starting in 2021. This is contained in a 17-page “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic” released on Monday in Abuja and signed by the INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. The policy covers health and legal issues, election planning and operations, election day and post-election activities, voter registration, political parties, election observation, electoral security and deployment of technology in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. “… Continue to make available its electronic channels for voters to check their registration status. Pilot the use of Electronic Voting Machines at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021,” the document stated. The commission, however, ruled out the deployment of the e-voting for the coming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. It said it would adopt electronic platforms for the submission of nomination forms by political parties for the two governorship elections.

Dominican Republic: Government officials ask OAS to investigate e-vote failure | Martín José Adames Alcántara/Associated Press

Officials in the Dominican Republic announced Friday that they have asked the Organization of American States to investigate the failure of an electronic voting system some believe was tampered with in an incident that sparked protests and delayed municipal elections. Government officials said they also requested that the local Justice Department suspend its investigation to allow international organizations to take over. “We must find a way to lend credibility to any investigation that is carried out to determine what happened and if there was any malicious action,” said Flavio Darío Espinal, the president’s legal adviser. The software glitch had forced the Dominican Republic to suspend municipal elections on Sunday, with voting halted after three hours when 50% of polling places using electronic ballot machines reported problems.

Dominican Republic: Electronic glitch triggers Dominican Republic vote suspension | Ezequiel Abiu Lopez/Reuters

Dominican Republic’s nationwide municipal elections were suspended only four hours after voting began on Sunday due to a glitch in the electronic voting system, officials said. More than 7.4 million voters were due to vote to elect 3,849 positions in 158 municipalities across the Caribbean nation. The failure of the system is likely to raise concerns ahead of the May 17 presidential elections. Julio Cesar Castanos, president of Dominican Republic’s electoral body, said nearly half of the electronic devices did not work properly and many virtual ballot papers did not load, leaving citizens unable to cast their votes. “We are going to initiate a thorough investigation of what happened and why those ballot papers did not load correctly,” Castanos said in a press conference. The electronic system was used in 18 of the 158 municipalities and focused on cities and regions with high population density, accounting for 62.4% of the electorate. Paper ballots were due to be used elsewhere.

Bulgaria: Buying voting machines will cost about 15 Million Euro | The Sofia Globe

Preliminary government estimates are that buying voting machines will cost about 30 million leva (about 15.3 million euro), Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev told reporters on February 14. Donchev was speaking two days after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that the government would buy voting machines for all polling stations. Bulgaria is due to go the polls twice in 2021, in parliamentary elections in the spring and presidential elections in the autumn. A voting machine cost about the same as a mid-range laptop, less than 2000 leva, and 15 000 to 20 000 machines would have to be ordered, Donchev said. There were a few details that could change the price, he said. “Since autumn last year we have been looking into the market, which is not very easy. Because there is no European experience that we can take into account. Further the situation is complicated by the situation in China,” Donchev said, saying that whatever the components, some were made in China.

Dominican Republic: Voting Machine Failure Suspends Dominican Republic Elections | The St Kitts Nevis Observer

Dominican Republic’s nationwide municipal elections were suspended on Sunday due to a glitch in the electronic voting system, Central Electoral Board (JCE) announced, adding that they will convene a new date promptly. Following the suspension, four hours after they started, due to automated voting failures, the opposition party People’s Power (FP) said that the problem was provoked. “We are going to initiate a thorough investigation of what happened and why those ballot papers did not load correctly,” the President of the JCE Julio Cesar Castanos said in a press conference. The electronic system was used in 18 of the 158 municipalities and focused on cities and regions with high population density, accounting for 62.4 percent of the electorate. Paper ballots were due to be used elsewhere. The decision was made after members of the JCE met with the delegates of the political parties accredited to that institution, trying to find a solution to the long delays that have arisen at the beginning of the municipal election.

Bulgaria: Government will buy voting machines for all polling stations | The Sofia Globe

The Bulgarian government will provide funds to buy voting machines so that there is one at each polling station at the next elections, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told a Cabinet meeting on February 12. He added, however, that he was not convinced that this would solve anything. In 2019, Bulgaria’s Parliament amended the Electoral Code to require the use of 3000 voting machines in last year’s presidential elections, 6000 in the municipal elections, and in National Assembly elections. Ahead of the autumn 2019 municipal elections, the law was amended again, to remove the requirement for the use of machines in that vote. That followed a Central Electoral Commission (CEC) analysis after the European Parliament elections that the deployment of voting machines – the first time they had been used on a large scale in Bulgaria – had created a number of difficulties.

Tennessee: Local advocates push for paper ballots in Shelby County | Kirstin Garriss/Cox Media Group

Some voters and elected officials are pushing for a more secure voting machine system in Shelby County. The group known as SAVE or “Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections” want paper ballots for future elections. Members of SAVE said Chattanooga/ Hamilton County already uses this same hand marked paper ballot system. It’s similar to filling out a scan-tron like you do for the SAT. But Shelby County election officials said what works in a smaller county may not work here and the risk for error increases with this system. 2020 is a big election year and members of SAVE want to make sure voting is as secure as possible.

Tennessee: Hand-marked paper ballots for elections get new push in Shelby County | Bill Dries/The Daily Memphian

Shelby County Commissioner Reginald Milton says when commissioners discuss a new voting system next week for local elections, he will advocate for hand-marked paper ballots to replace the touch-screen machines used in Shelby County elections. Milton recalls his first bid for elected office ended with a loss by 26 votes. While he didn’t seek to overturn the results in Chancery Court, Milton is among a lot of candidates in close races who want to see some data before they decide if it is worth it to go to court. “That took an entire month to resolve that issue. That was unnecessary,” he said. “It could have been done instantly.” The county has already allocated $2.5 million in funding for a new voting system the election commission hopes to debut this election year. Milton specifically favors printed ballots voters mark by hand that are then run through an optical scanner. The scanner results and the marked ballots, he and other advocates contend, offer two ways of verifying results.

Japan: Push to spread e-voting may mean allowing use of off-the-shelf tablets | The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry aims to allow the use of commercially available tablets and personal computers for electronic voting in local elections. E-voting became possible in 2002 and 10 local governments and assemblies have since implemented the voting method. But e-voting has not been used since 2016. To encourage the implementation of more electronic voting, the ministry plans to review the current guidelines that effectively limit devices to those specialized for e-voting. As mistakes in local elections have been rapidly increasing nationwide, the ministry believes that e-voting can be effective for preventing mistakes in vote counting. During fiscal 2020, the ministry aims to improve the circumstances to make it possible for local governments and assemblies to resume the implementation of e-voting. The guidelines stipulate criteria on devices used for vote counting in elections in which e-voting is implemented. It effectively only allows the use of electronic devices specialized for e-voting because of durability and measures to prevent fraudulent voting. However, compared with devices that were available in 2002, the performance of commercially available electronic devices has remarkably improved and there are now more lower-priced models.

National: America Won’t Give Up Its Hackable Wireless Voting Machines | Kartikay Mehrotra/Bloomberg

After Russian hackers made extensive efforts to infiltrate the American voting apparatus in 2016, some states moved to restrict internet access to their vote-counting systems. Colorado got rid of barcodes used to electronically read ballots. California tightened its rules for electronic voting machines that can go online. Ohio bought new voting machines that deliberately excluded wireless capabilities. Michigan went in a different direction, authorizing as much as $82 million for machines that rely on wireless modems to connect to the internet. State officials justified the move by saying it is the best way to satisfy an impatient public that craves instantaneous results. The problem is, connecting election machines to the public internet, especially wirelessly, leaves the whole system vulnerable, according to cybersecurity experts. So Michigan’s new secretary of state is considering using some of the state’s $10 million in federal election funds to rip out those modems before the March presidential primary. “The system we inherited is not optimal for security since our election equipment can and has connected to the internet,” said Jocelyn Benson, who won election as secretary of state and took office in January 2019. She convened a committee of cybersecurity experts to evaluate the state election system’s vulnerabilities. “If that’s what the committee recommends, we’ll take them out.”

Bangladesh: BNP opposes electronic voting, cites risks of rigging |

Election results generated by electronic voting machines (EVM) are never acceptable, BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said at a media briefing on Sunday. “It’s a matter of great concern that the Election Commission has become active to serve the government’s interest again. It created an unprecedented history with the last national election,” said Rizvi citing allegations of rigging. Rizvi accused the EC of helping the government rig the election through the use of electronic devices. “We call upon the EC to cancel the use of EVMs and initiate an election acceptable to all.” EVMs are not a transparent voting system which never serves democracy, said Rizvi citing some research. EVMs can be ‘tampered’ with, he said. “The results generated by these machines cannot be trusted.”

Namibia: Election court challenge to be heard in January | Estelle De Bruyn/The Namibian

The Supreme Court will on 17 January hear arguments on the electoral challenge through which independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula and four others are trying to get a rerun of Namibia’s presidential election. Supreme Court judge Dave Smuts today presided over a case management hearing with the various parties to the case to establish a timeline for the filing of court papers and to determine the date of the final hearing. Itula and the other four applicants are basing their attack on the conduct of the presidential election on the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s decision to make use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), and are arguing that the Electoral Act required that the ECN could make use only of EVMs accompanied by a verifiable paper trail.

Bangladesh: Electronic voting machines take centre stage in Dhaka city polls as BNP objects, CEC defends | bdnews24

With political focus shifting towards the Dhaka city polls, electronic voting machine has taken the centre stage as the chief election commissioner has defended e-voting amid the BNP’s stance against the machines. The Election Commission will go for EVMs in all polling stations in the elections to the bifurcated Dhaka city corporations slated for Jan 30. The BNP has always opposed the use of EVMs and it has expressed reservations again this time over fears of result manipulation. “These (EVMs) are completely faulty and we reject these. It won’t be right (to use EVMs). The people’s mandate won’t be reflected in these EVMs,” Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters while paying respect to party founder Ziaur Rahman at his grave in Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar on Wednesday. “We think there will be little chance of fair elections if EVMs are used,” he said.

India: Electronic Voting Machines Not ‘Information’ Under Right to Information Act: Delhi High Court | Karan Tripathi/Live Law

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday quashed the order of theCentral Information Commission which had held that Electronic Voting Machines are within the definition of ‘information’ under section 2(f) of the RTI Act. The HC Single Bench of Justice Jayant Nath noted that the Central Information Commission erroneously passed an order in favour of the…

Nigeria: National Electoral Commission says electronic voting not yet feasible | Eric Ikhilae/The Nation Newspaper

The National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said electronic voting systems could only be introduced into the nation’s electoral process when the nation was sure of the appropriate technologies, provide infrastructure, to address cyber security, among other challenges. According to INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the country was not there yet. He was however confident that his agency could achieve electronic collation of results (e-collation) and electronic transmission of results (e-transmission) during the next election circle in 2023. Mahmood spoke in Abuja on Monday at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (NCSSR) stakeholders’ forum on elections. NCSSR is a coalition of civil society organisations, led by Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC). The INEC Chairmen, Deputy Senate President, Snetor Ovie Omo-Agege and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami were unanimous on the need to review the nation’s Electoral Act before the next election season and particularly, the importance of creating the much-requested Electoral Offences Commission.

National: Why we can expect more voting machine headaches in 2020 | Steven Rosenfeld/Salon

Still-incomplete explanations of problematic aspects of new voting systems that debuted in November 2019 and will be used in 2020 suggest that voters will likely see random delays in voting and vote counting during next year’s presidential primaries and fall election. The new voting systems were being tested or deployed in advance of 2020. While the machinery did not widely fail across all jurisdictions, there were diverse and serious problems that could undermine public trust if they recur in 2020. However, the official responses, thus far, have not been reassuring. Take Georgia, for example. There, new systems were tested in nine counties on November 5 before statewide use in 2020’s primaries. In four counties, the start of voting was delayed by more than one hour, according to a secretary of state summary that mostly blamed the users, but not the technology. The users would be poll workers and other officials (who underwent training) and private contractors who program the system checking in voters. The opening of the polls is one of the busiest times at polling places, when people come to vote on their way to work. “We had 45 incidents out of 27,482 votes or an incident rate of 0.164 percent,” the secretary of state’s report summary said. “Nearly all issues were caused by human error or interaction which can be mitigated through training or identified through testing.” That statistical assessment is breezy. The report’s fine print describes poll openings delayed by an hour, but does not say how many voters were kept waiting. The apparent reason was that the electronic poll book system had “an additional field within the dataset erroneously.” If that analysis is correct, that is an amateur programming error. The report said that private vendors used Wi-Fi to access and reprogram it. But that wasn’t the only problem.

Namibia: Electronic Glitch Makes For Slow Start to Namibian Elections | Kaula Nhongo/Bloomberg

Faulty machines caused delays as voting got underway Wednesday in Namibia’s general election that is set to hand President Hage Geingob a second term and extend the almost 30-year rule of the South West Africa People’s Organization even as the economy flags. Voting came to a standstill at a polling station on the outskirts of the capital, Windhoek, after it ran out of forms. A WhatsApp message group created for journalists by the Electoral Commission of Namibia, reported malfunctioning electronic voting machines at various stations, including one in Windhoek. Geingob said he was confident of another victory. “I campaigned like hell,” he told told reporters after casting his vote. “If I lose I will accept it. I am a democrat.” After securing 87% of the presidential ballot in 2014 and the ruling party garnering 80% support in the parliamentary vote, neither are realistically at risk of losing their majority, even if their margins of victory may narrow.

Nigeria: PDP Asks INEC To Push For Legalisation Of Electronic Voting | Channels Television

The National Working Committee of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday met with representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over issues of electoral reforms. Leaders of the political party during the meeting urged the electoral body to lead the process of electoral reforms that will legalise electronic voting and reduce military presence during elections. “I would like to urge your commission to move quickly and initiate Electoral Act amendment that will legalise electronic voting and remove the influence of the military as primary security on the Election Day,” National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, said while welcoming the INEC representatives to PDP National Secretariat, Abuja. The party also lamented over alleged military involvement in elections noting that the recent elections including the 2019 general elections calls the integrity of the electoral umpire to question. “Despite a standing lawful court ruling that military should be kept at a distance during elections as secondary security, we have all watched how they not only took over the primary security role from the Police but in some instances dictated and even connived with some INEC officials,” they said.

Indiana: Why Critics Say Indiana Isn’t Doing Enough To Beef Up Election Security | Adam Pinsker & Sean Hogan/ Indiana Public Media

A big upgrade of voting machines is taking place around the state, but it won’t be finished before the 2020 election, when Hoosiers will choose a president, governor and other down ballot candidates. Some Hoosier voters worry their votes aren’t protected, and critics say a larger effort to safeguard votes is needed from the state. There are two types of machines for counties to use during elections in Indiana: Direct Record Electronic (DREs) and Optical Scans, which utilize a paper ballot. Valerie Warycha, the Indiana Deputy Chief of Staff says the state is providing four DRE counties — Bartholomew, Boone, Hamilton, and Hendricks — with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) by 2020. A VVPAT is a device that attaches to the machine and prints out a paper copy of an individual vote that can be reviewed in the course of an election audit. A law that went into effect in July requires all counties to use voting machines that provide a paper trail audit by the beginning of 2030.

Nigeria: Senate moves to okay e-voting for future polls | Azimazi Momoh Jimoh/The Guardian Nigeria

The Senate has begun a fresh electoral reform which has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the much-awaited electronic voting method for future polls.
The lawmakers also compelled INEC to operate an electronic database into which all results in an election should be transmitted. A bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010 through which the reform would be achieved has already been published in an official gazette and debate on its general principles may begin on the floor of the Senate during the week. A copy of the bill exclusively obtained by The Guardian also stipulates that data of accredited voters must be transmitted to the central data base upon the conclusion of the accreditation of voters which would be done through the use of the card reader. “At the end of accreditation of voters, the presiding officer shall transmit the voter accreditation data by secure mobile electronic communication to the central database of the commission kept at the national headquarters of the commission.

Virginia: Registrar: Data glitch affected some Stafford ballots, but not enough to change election | James Scott Baron/The Free Lance-Star

Several Stafford County voters claim they were given the wrong ballot at the polls Tuesday, while others say their ballot was missing information. According to county voting officials, a precinct chief reported that some voters checking in at the polls were given incorrect ballots. “Our records reflect that 281 ballots were cast within the six affected precincts from the opening of the polls at 6 a.m. until the resolution of this issue by no later than 6:30 a.m.,” County Registrar Anna Rainey wrote in an email. Six precincts were affected: Hartwood, Simpson and College in the Hartwood District; Griffis and Barrett in the Griffis–Widewater District; and Whitson in the Garrisonville District. All of the precincts affected were split precincts, where voters are given different ballots based on which House of Delegates or state Senate district they live in. Rainey reports the number of affected ballots was between 66 and 281 in legislative races only. No local races were affected. The 30-minute glitch was caused by a data transfer issue to the polls’ computer printers. Those printers help voting officials identify which ballot matches the voter’s precinct.

India: ECIL Directs Disclosure of Information About Electronic Voting Machines and VVPAT Deployment in 2019 Elections | Venkatesh Nayak/The Wire

In September 2019, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative reported that the Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) did a volte face under the Right to Information (RTI) Act about supplying information relating to Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Trail Units (VVPATs) deployed during the 2019 general elections. After demanding copying charges to provide the information I requested, the central public information officer (CPIO) returned the money, claiming that BEL did not hold some of the information and that disclosing names of engineers deputed to provide technical support for these machines at the constituency-level would endanger their lives. The CPIO also denied access to operational manuals relating to these machines. The CPIO of the Electronics Corporation Ltd (ECIL), which also supplied EVMs and VVPATs for use during the same elections, had also denied information sought in an identical RTI application. Now, in a welcome turnaround, the ECIL’s first appellate authority (FAA) has upheld my first appeal and directed its CPIO to provide access to all information which had been denied earlier. Meanwhile, the BEL’s FAA directed the CPIO to transfer the queries relating to the number of EVMs and VVPATs deployed during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections to the Election Commission of India (ECI) but upheld his decision to reject information about engineers and operational manuals used.

National: John Oliver on exploitable voting machines: ‘We must fix this’ | Adrian Horton/The Guardian

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver focused on voting – a staple of American democracy and, among other things, “the only way to get Sean Spicer off of Dancing with the Stars”. Before Americans vote this Tuesday – yes, Oliver reminded, there are elections this Tuesday – it’s worth asking: “How much do you trust the system that counts your ballots?” It’s not unreasonable to have some questions about election security, Oliver continued. We now know that in 2016, Russian hackers targeted election systems in all 50 states. In that case, they targeted voter registration data; as for the machines, officials have promised that they’re secure, but a Senate report on the 2016 election infrastructure found that some were “vulnerable to exploitation by a committed adversary”. Oliver offered some context: there’s not one election system in use across the US. Some states use paper ballots, others have a print-out ballot, still others use all-electronic systems. Those electronic machines were introduced after the contested 2000 presidential election, in which the race between George W Bush and Al Gore came down to 1,000 votes in a Florida recount cast on push-pin ballots.

Namibia: Windhoek protesters call for electronic voting machine removal | The Namibian

More than 100 protesters on Saturday took to the streets of Windhoek to vent their frustrations and anger around the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) at the upcoming presidential and National Assembly elections. The protestors started their demonstration in the Havana informal settlement on the outskirts of Windhoek, and headed to the head office of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), where they were expected to hand over their petition to the commission’s chief electoral and referenda officer, Theo Mujoro. Mujoro did not show up on the day to receive the petition. “I don’t take instructions from the Namibian Police. I read about the intention of people to march on social media. Nobody has written to me as the chief electoral officer or the commission about the planned march. So, I had no obligation to receive anything from anybody,” Mujoro told Nampa on Saturday.

UAE: E-voting technology adopted by UAE a pioneering experiment in the region | Samir Salama/Gulf News

By adopting an election protection system, the National Election Committee reiterates its commitment to hold an election that is characterised by the highest degree of fairness and transparency by implementing the best internationally recognised practices used in the world’s most successful parliaments, said Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and Chairman of the National Election Committee. Dr Gargash said on the eve of the early voting that starts today at nine polling stations across the country, the highly accurate e-voting technology adopted by the NEC is a pioneering experiment in the region, which the UAE introduced during the first Federal National Council Elections in 2006.

Namibia: Lost electronic voting machines Raise Doubt On Election Credibility | Sonja Smith/Namibian

Recent reports that a number of electronic voting machines (EVMs) were missing from the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) have sparked massive public criticism, with some people questioning the integrity of the election body in the run-up to next month’s presidential and National Assembly elections. Some political commentators and legal experts have accused the electoral commission of concealing information regarding the disappearance of the EVMs, while others called for the arrest of people responsible for the missing EVMs. The Namibian reported last week that the Namibian Police were investigating a case involving the disappearance of three EVMs from the ECN. The ECN issued a statement on Sunday, explaining that the missing EVMs were rented out to the ruling Swapo Party to conduct an internal election for the party’s Elders’ Council in 2017. The commission, however, remains tight-lipped about the issue, saying it could not publicly pronounce itself on the matter due to “concerns of compromising the investigation process, as the police are working to trace the EVMs that had gone missing.”