Framework for the Guide and Overview Section
This guide and the overview section will focus on the most commonly-used electronic voting and counting technologies: namely, non-remote EVMs used in the supervised environment of the polling station and electronic counting machines. Much that is discussed in the guide and overview is also relevant for remote electronic voting from unsupervised environments. However, the use of such remote voting technologies presents complex challenges in implementation. This is especially the case for remote voter identification and authentication, audit mechanisms, data secrecy and security. At the same time, the logistics of implementing remote voting may be much simpler than for non-remote voting.
The overview section of this guide is meant to be useful for election administrators, electoral stakeholders, including oversight actors and those in the donor community who might be considering the merits of introducing electronic voting and/or counting technologies in a country. It is important to note that electronic voting and counting technologies can create new and important stakeholder groups in the electoral process. These groups include technology vendors, who often play a very important role in the election, certification bodies, academia and IT experts. All of these groups may play a key role in providing, checking or overseeing the use of new technologies.
This overview provides an introduction to the key considerations and themes to be assessed when contemplating the use of electronic voting and counting technologies – issues that will be explored in more detail in the next section of the manual. These include practical considerations related to the use of electronic voting and counting technologies, such as the legality of using such technology under existing legal frameworks; timeline for consideration and implementation; sustainability of the technology; integrity of elections using this technology; trust in the technologies; and the security of the technologies and data. Key issues also include normative aspects of the electoral process, such as inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and ballot secrecy in elections when using electronic voting and counting technologies. Finally, a section is included that attempts to summarize what can be characterized as emerging electoral standards related to the use of electronic voting and counting technologies.
Consideration of the use of electronic voting or counting technologies is an incredibly complex topic. In highlighting the many issues that need to be assessed when considering the use of these technologies, it is hoped the overview will provide electoral stakeholders with the tools needed to give electronic voting and counting technologies the due consideration they deserve.
Weighing the Benefits and Challenges