Electronic voting is emerging as the great coincidence of the electoral reform

Electronic voting is emerging as the great coincidence of the electoral reform

Electronic voting in 2024?

The president has expressed that his reform does not seek to eliminate the body in charge of organizing the elections, but rather to “stop” the corrupt system and “avoid” electoral fraud, and for this, among other things, he has proposed the implementation of electronic voting and even, estimates that it could be ready by 2024,

In addition, he has highlighted that there would be a notable reduction of money in the organization and holding of electoral elections.

“I am sure that it costs less, that it is not so much expense. Since the electoral reform is now being discussed, a system like this would help a lot: safe, impartial, efficient, fast. You have to find the way. It is a fact that this system works… as it happened in Brazil or Costa Rica,” the Federal Executive commented one morning.

Electronic ballot box generates confidence, but it is not a panacea

Starting in 2003, Mexico began various studies and developed electronic alternatives so that citizens could exercise their popular will through this mechanism. In that year, the Coahuila Electoral and Citizen Participation Institute produced and implemented for the first time in a binding manner an electronic voting system, a mechanism that was later followed by Chihuahua, Mexico City, Jalisco, Nuevo León and San Luis Potosí, for which They each designed their own mechanisms. The theme and exercises continued to develop.

By 2021, according to the Comprehensive Report on the evaluation of the implementation of this mechanism, the electronic ballot box is a tool that guarantees universality, freedom and secrecy, as well as the principles and values ​​protected by the General Law of Electoral Institutions and Procedures in the traditional conception of voting.

Even during the elections held in the states of Coahuila and Hidalgo -in 2021-, it was expressed that 7 out of 10 voters surveyed, the device generated a lot of confidence.

However, for the electoral advisor Martín Faz, the electronic ballot box has helped to carry out timely and reliable elections, with a high level of acceptance and trust among citizens, but he clarifies that this is not a panacea, especially due to the costs that involves developing that technology.

“Many people say: ‘Look at Brazil, how wonderful!’, but Brazil has been developing an electronic vote for 30 years. Even the printed vote is already unconstitutional.

“I think we have to give way to electronic voting, but let’s not have false illusions that electronic voting in the short and even, in the medium term, is going to mean lowering resources, which is a bit like the argument that has,” he notes.

The Philosophy graduate explains that, over three decades, the Carioca nation has developed its own software and hardware, which is not easy at all.

In addition, each electronic ballot box in Brazil has an approximate cost of 2,000 dollars, in addition to the fact that the country does not have any other equipment for sale, because it is a proprietary development.

“To really think that electronic voting in the short and medium term is going to lower costs, it is a false perspective, it may be an advertising narrative, but technically and operationally it is not feasible,” he says.

In Mexico, electronic voting was not contemplated in the law, therefore, the different developments that were being carried out within INE – in collaboration with the Local Electoral Public Organizations (OPLEs) – stopped.

Faz Mora, a teacher in Human Rights and Democracy from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso), recalls that the then Electoral Institute of the Federal District (IEDF), today in Mexico City, was developing an electronic ballot box, but stopped doing so because of the costs that it implied and, above all, because it was not possible to implement it because it was not contemplated in the law,

The same happened with the states of Coahuila and Jalisco, whose developments have not been fully updated, in addition to the fact that there are not thousands of electronic ballot boxes: “We did not arrive with 1,000 electronic ballot boxes throughout the country.”

“If, finally, the law allows this modality of electronic voting, a gradual, slow process will begin, which in the medium and long term, could help, but it also implies expenses, since maintenance, security and that are required. It costs,” he explains.

“Perhaps it would save some things that have to do with the speed of the computations, because they are very fast, but their implementation implies a series of security costs, in software updates that are renewed every two minutes, in addition to the place where they are going to be installed. save as they would be warehouses with conditions ”, establishes the INE counselor.

Remember that the topic has been discussed by the INE itself with special publications.

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