As more people realize the benefits that advanced voting technologies have brought to democracies around the world a very simple question comes to mind, when should a country go ahead and automate its elections? The answer to this question is also simple, the sooner the better!
In our opinion, the ubiquity of the voting machines in the public debate on elections seems to have overshadowed the fact that there are plenty of other technological solutions available in the market to improve the overall administration of electoral processes. Some of the more simple options can be a great entry point to the fascinating world of automated elections.
Elections span from months before Election Day until weeks after votes are cast, counted and results are published. Throughout this entire process there are numerous opportunities to take advantage of the recent developments in voting technologies. For instance, during the pre-election phase authorities can now use different tools to automatically generate voting instruments. Biometrics can be used to manage and improve voter registers. The internet and mobile phones are becoming a powerful tool to closely monitor the initial stages of elections and to create communication channels with voters, observers, political parties, and other stakeholders to inform them about the process.
The spectrum of possibilities for Election Day technologies is also considerably broad. It ranges from simple monitoring applications heavily based on SMS and phone calling, to the most sophisticated, yet simple to use, touch-sensitive Direct-Recording Electronic voting machines. Recent developments have included result publications as one of the stages that can be automated. One example of such technology is Smartmatic’s Real-Time Electoral Information System (REIS) which is a software developed specifically to fulfill a wide range of electoral requirements dealing mostly with the display of partial results and final election bulletins.
It is important to stress the fact that the more automated an election is, the cleaner it becomes. Nowadays approximately thirty countries are using technology of some sort to heighten the standards of election administration. Venezuela, a proven leader in the adoption of electronic voting, will become the first nation in the world to hold an end-to-end automated voting process in October when it incorporates biometric voting session activation using automated solutions created and deployed by Smartmatic.
When efficiency, security, accuracy, or transparency of elections are at stake, automation is the way to go.