In the eve of the upcoming General Elections, where the 650 seats of the House of Commons will be chosen, democracy watchdogs, electoral technology organizations, and the media are debating over electronic voting and how its implementation could increase voter turnout in the UK.
As a preamble to this discussion, last week there was also extensive talk about the new online voter registration process which yielded great results. During the last day in which registration was open for these elections, 98% of voters preferred to use the online platform, a fact that invited technology advocates to use this as a proxy for the impact online voting could have on election turnout.
Within the context of this national discussion, Smartmatic’s Chairman Lord Malloch-Brown gave an interview to Sky News where he stated that “clearly it is only a matter of time until this technology is used.”
He considers these general elections will be a call to attention for authorities, so they consider the use of electronic voting technology.
He cited the examples of countries such as The Philippines and Brazil, with large voting populations and widespread geography, which took the decision to implement voting technology and have had successful experiences.
“This election, with its close results and uneven turnout, will be a wake-up call,” he added.
Malloch-Brown said Smartmatic provides the necessary technology and innovations to have secure elections, and a vote count which is much faster than the traditional way. He insisted it is not a matter of speed, but getting more people to vote, providing them with the resources to make voting easier, as it happened in Estonia, where a third of the votes in their last election were cast online.
“If you have a biometric ID you can vote from the lobby of your office building or from a shopping mall, it’s a hugely convenient voting if you are in the university or transient employment somewhere”, he added referring about younger voters. “We’ll get to a point in the lifetimes of many people where they will cast their votes on elections online”, emphasised Malloch-Brown.
When asked if the United Kingdom could have this technology in five years, the Chairman of Smartmatic said that “it is absolutely up to politicians”, adding that some parties are already endorsing electronicvoting technology and the establishment is coming around to this possibility. According to Malloch-Brown implementing technology in elections in the UK could potentially revive democracy, increase turnout, and get people more excited and participative.