Friday, March 9, 2012

Elections in Russia: Putin’s Triumph Faces Irregularities


Russia’s much anticipated presidential elections took place last Sunday. After a long campaign that included sketches of candidatesfaces in cappuccinos, Vladimir Putin was elected Prime Minister of Russia with nearly 64% of the votes.

From the beginning, there was no doubt that Putin would win this time. However, there has been sharp criticism over the alleged lack of transparency of this election. Cameras set up by the Kremlin caught people stuffing multiple voting papers into a ballot box in Dagestan, and there have been reports of observers being kept away from polling stations, even beaten. However, Putin’s campaign chief, Stanislav Govorukhin, rejected these claims, calling them “ridiculous”.

The ballot stuffing cases are proof that voting systems need to be carefully supervised in order to avoid irregularities. The mere electronic scanning of ballots is not guarantee of transparency. 

This is why automated voting needs to be implemented correctly in order to prevent any tampering during elections. We can use as an example the 2010 National Elections in The Phillipines, where electronic scanners where successfully used for the first time in the Asian country, there was an astounding turnout of 76% and the results were accepted by all the participating political parties.

There are a variety of mechanisms designed to make the electoral process more transparent. A next-generation automated and auditable voting system would provide an electoral authority with the proper technological resources that provide the electors with the complete security and accuracy they require to participate without doubts in their electoral processes.