Technology revamps our democracies daily. It is transforming the way election commissions manage the voting cycle, as well as the stakeholders and voters’ experiences.
Moreover, tech innovation and electronic solutions offer a continuously disruptive adaptation of the ballot box.
Few significant election technology concerns are directly impacting political participation and voting. Moreover, some of these trending topics are expected to become top priorities during the upcoming election cycles globally.
1. Mastering cybersecurity
Cybersecurity management in elections is -and will continue to be- a priority for EMBs. IT modernization must focus on learning, planning, controlling, and evaluating the cybersecurity systems in place. The continuous monitoring, diagnostics and mitigation method will see a significant increase on its followers, as it helps to determine what’s happening on the network and how data can be protected.
2. Voter-centered experience
The relevance of offering a human-centered experience during the voting process is becoming the natural next step for the most forward-leaning election management bodies. Voters are used to consumer-like user experiences and casting their ballots should not be different. An easier, more intuitive, flexible, accessible, and pleasant way of voting will become the norm. From artificial intelligence to machine learning, new technologies have much to offer to UX design in election systems.
3. More convenient voting options
Problems and lack of trust with traditional manual voting together with aging electronic voting machines have already shown how pertinent it is to update election technology systems. Nowadays it is critical to offer optimal and reliable options to take part in elections for all registered voters, regardless of location, different abilities, language or age. For instance, trialing secure online voting is rapidly becoming a more convenient option to replace remote, proxy and postal voting.
4. Embracing blockchain, AI, and other new technologies
The blockchain is not a bulletproof solution for improving online voting; nevertheless, it is an excellent tool to reinforce election systems. On the other hand, AI and advanced analytics will be powerful allies for cybersecurity. Creating secure solutions against real-time threats in an automated, predictive way (with AI or machine learning) is already a trend among EMBs. It can enhance products, services, processes, and most importantly help with vote’rs experiences and engagement.
5. Paper-based audits
Post-election audits are predicted to become standard practice in the next two years, among countries using electronic voting machines and other forms of election technologies. Currently, the two most critical issues in audits are requiring paper records and structuring rigorous standards for certifications. According to a recent piece about voting machines in the U.S. in Scientific American “the key insight behind auditing as a cyber defense is that if you have a paper record that the voter got to inspect, then that can’t later be changed by an attack. If you have no paper trail, then it’s impossible to perform a rigorous audit. It’s one of the few grand cybersecurity challenges that doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. But it’s going to take national leadership and national standards to get there.”