Peru: Taking yet another step towards e-voting adoption

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Peru evoting

Ever since 2010, Peru’s National Office of Electoral Processes (La Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales, ONPE) has been leading the country’s steps towards electoral innovation.  As a result of the nearly one-month delay announcing the results of Lima’s mayoral race in 2010, Congress passed a resolution calling for ONPE to explore the implementation of electronic voting. A very first small scale pilot took in during the 2011 Presidential election.

The pilot involved less than 1500 voters who cast their ballot via specialized polling place voting machines. Good planning and effective voter education made the pilot a success.  The Peruvians went to great lengths to achieve that. A mountainous area had been chosen where electricity access was limited and battery-operated voting machines, with generator back-ups had to be deployed.  As such, the ONPE recommendations that came out following the pilot concluded that although  many technical and logistical obstacles to implementing a national electronic voting system could be overcome, implementing such a system would in effect be very costly and as such of limited efficiency. Nonetheless further piloting took place during the 2013 municipal elections, this time in a more convenient Lima district, using the same short of e-voting technology.

However, Peru is taking a rigorous step towards internet voting in the upcoming October 5th 2014 elections. Internet voting will be piloted in 7 electoral districts using Scytl’s online voting software. Cost will not be the issue this time, that’s for sure. It will all come down to voter education and citizen deliberation on this new channel of casting a ballot. Trusting the OLV technology along with other citizenries of the globe who have already done so, will be paramount. Understanding the security measures implemented is the key to achieve that. The Peruvians did an excellent job in voter education back in 2011. If they do same with the upcoming online voting pilots we may see an internet voting success story coming from the continent that traditionally goes for standalone voting machines when it comes to e-voting.  It is surely worth following this e-voting implementation and coming back to it in the near future.