Election Universe

E-Voting: Why is UK not as smart as the Philippines?

E-Voting: Why is UK not as smart as the Philippines?
December 26 2014, 22:05

As the world continues to gravitate towards greater technology adoption in all realms of daily life, the kind of question posed in this article by Edie Lush is becoming more frequent and more relevant. What is keeping some European nations from adopting voting technology?

By comparing the positive impact that technology has had on Philippine elections with UK´s reluctance to abandon its traditional pen and paper-based system, and citing other positive experiences like the ones in Belgium, Brazil, Estonia and India, Lush argues that it is about time the UK begins a new set of discussion on technology and its use in elections.

According to the author, each nation will find different reasons why to automate an election. With 814 million voters, spread across a vast territory –over 12 million sq miles–, it is not hard to imagine why using voting machines to capture and tabulate votes was an appealing idea to India’s election commission back in the 1990s.

Belgium, a country with a very complex administrative structure, and three language areas, found in technology a perfect way to streamline vote processing as early as the 1980s.

Leveraging on the power of technology to make election administration more transparent and efficient, the Philippine elections commission went from taking 40 days to announce official results, to delivering them within 2 days. Quite a major feat considering the 50 million Filipino voters live in an archipelago comprising  over 7 thousand islands.  Only in the last mid-term elections, Filipinos cast over 700 million votes in only 10 hours.

For the last 7 years, Estonia has become a world reference as it’s let its voters cast their ballot over the internet. It is now the longest-standing and most advanced Internet voting solution in the world. The elections of this small Balcanic state stand as a beacon of transparency and efficiency for electoral bodies the world over.

Higher turnouts, reducing per-vote count, convenience at its maximum –Internet voting– are some of the powerful incentives UK authorities have to begin the road towards adopting more and better technology.

Image courtesy of  Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net