Monday, November 16, 2015

Managing the complexity of the Venezuelan parliamentary elections

On December 6, Venezuela will hold parliamentary elections amidst a highly polarized political environment. Authorities are expecting 20 million voters who will elect 167 representatives from 1,800 candidates.

Amongst the upheaval and uncertainty, at least one factor has remained a constant in Venezuelan politics for over a decade: the continued advancement and improved deployment of e-voting technology.

Indeed, even though more than 14,000 polling stations will be open and millions of ballots will be cast on December 6, the official results will likely be available and reported within just a few hours of the polls closing. This is because of the 100% automated voting platform, from voter registration to the electronic capture of the ballot on a direct-recording e-voting machine, from the tabulation of results to the proclamation of the successful candidates. Electronic voting can bring about incredible benefits when it comes to complex elections of this type and the expedient and secure reporting of the results is just one of them.

After using electronic counting for six years, Venezuelan moved to electronic voting in 2004. From the 13 elections that took place between 2004 and 2013, a total of over 340 million votes were processed, over half a million voting machines were deployed, nearly 300,000 operators were trained, and some 5,600 candidates were elected through this end-to-end voting infrastructure and system.

Throughout this experience, e-voting has played an integral role in improving the efficiency, security and effectiveness of the democratic process. Venezuela has held the most automated elections in Latin America.

Looking ahead to the December parliamentary elections, Venezuelans can fully expect this strong history and pedigree of successful e-voting will continue with the integrity of audits, the user-friendly experience of the voting machines and the remarkably expedient reporting of results.