STUDY 2: Adoption of Election Technologies
One of the strategic objectives of the Electoral Commission of South Africa is to ???provide cutting edge, stable, secure ICT environment that meets all functional needs of the Electoral Commission and supports innovative business processes???. The Electoral Commission has over the last few already implemented a range of innovative ICT tools to make voting more accessible to the voters. For instance, the VoterPortal services platform give voters the opportunity to online 1) register to vote, 2) to view and verify their address, 3) view voter registration information, 4) view information on upcoming elections and 5) request for a special vote among other. Voters can also connect with the Electoral Commission via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Although the Electoral Commission have implemented various ICT tools it is still considering the possibility of giving voters the opportunity to electronically.
Electronic voting and counting are the use of electronic devices / technologies to assist or automate the voting and counting processes. Electronic voting systems include electronic voting machines (EVMs) often placed in voting stations, SMS voting and Internet voting. The E-voting systems can be remote or non-remote. Remote voting is when voters??? choices are submitted (transmitted) via the internet or SMS to a central location. Non-remote electronic voting is when the voter records his choice on a local medium (such as the electronic voting machines (EVM)). There are advantages and disadvantages of electronic voting.
The aim of the study is to do a review of electronic voting and the systems that electoral bodies employ. It is hoped that this review will provide a deeper understanding of e-voting systems to inform the implementation of electronic voting in South Africa.
More specifically, the study seeks to address the following specific objectives:
1. How relevant are the identified electronic voting systems for South Africa?
2. How well does electronic voting systems work?
3. What resources are needed to implement electronic voting systems?
4. Is the implementation of electronic voting systems making a difference in providing for example access to voting?
5. Will the use of electronic voting systems increase the credibility of elections?
6. Will the use of electronic voting systems increase voter turnout?
7. What training is needed to rollout electronic voting systems?
To achieve the above objectives, the study will involve a desktop review in addition to the conducting of a number of qualitative key informant interviews with experts from electoral bodies and key electoral stakeholders in specific country contexts. It is hoped that the gathered information will assist the Electoral Commission to gain a comprehensive picture of electronic voting and to assist them to better plan, implement, and monitor and evaluate electronic voting system.