A leading United Nations expert on electoral technology has advised Pakistan’s top polls supervisory body against completely moving to an electronic voting system before 2023. Ronan McDermott was speaking on ‘Use of Technology in Elections’ — with particular focus on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and biometrics — jointly organised by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the United Nations Development Programme. Members of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms attended the session, during which the UN expert presented a global view of the merits and demerits of the main electoral technologies, and shared comparative experience on their adoption.
“My experience in election management in Pakistan and other countries leads me to recommend that Pakistan pilot a variety of EVMs over 2017 and in some 2018 general elections polling stations to determine which technology is most appropriate,” said McDermott.
Subject to successful pilots — and stakeholder acceptance — the ECP should gradually scale up the EVMs with a target date for full national rollout not earlier than 2023, he added.
On results technology, the specialist recommended that the result management system be given a solid legal framework and be used in all by-elections between now and 2018. “Transparent result management contributes to the ECP’s credibility. Trust is more important than technology itself.”