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UN Expert Advised ECP not to Move to Electronic Voting System Before 2023

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UN Expert Advised ECP not to Move to Electronic Voting System Before 2023

Ronan McDermott, A leading United Nations expert on electoral technology has advised Pakistan’s top polls supervisory body that Pakistan should not move to electronic voting system before 2023

He said this while speaking on ‘Use of Technology in Elections’ — with particular focus on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and biometrics — jointly organised by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the United Nations Development Programme.

UN Expert Advised ECP not to Move to Electronic Voting System Before 2023

The session was attended by members of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms. He also elaborated the global view of the merits and demerits of the main electoral technologies, and shared comparative experience on their adoption.

“My experience in election management in Pakistan and other countries leads me to recommend that Pakistan pilot a variety of EVMs over 2017 and in some 2018 general elections polling stations to determine which technology is most appropriate,”

said McDermott.

Subject to successful pilots — and stakeholder acceptance — the ECP should gradually scale up the EVMs with a target date for full national rollout not earlier than 2023,

he added.

On results technology, the specialist recommended that the result management system be given a solid legal framework and be used in all by-elections between now and 2018.

“Transparent result management contributes to the ECP’s credibility. Trust is more important than technology itself.”

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza outlined how the ECP, in consultation with the parliamentary sub-committee on electoral reforms, had piloted a range of innovative initiatives such as mobile results transmission, biometric voter identification and a geographic information system-enabled polling scheme.

the CEC noted

“Before committing to a large technology purchase,” the ECP would carefully review its appropriateness to the context of Pakistan, and would also test it extensively in the field.”