EVM fears persist

Opposition parties are unconvinced by the ECN's assurances about the safety of electronic voting machines.

05 September 2019 | Politics

Opposition parties say they are not buying chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro's assurance that a paper trail exists and can be issued by a court order in the event of a dispute.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani last week wrote to the ECN to express concern over the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a paper trail, as well as the absence of political parties at collation centres and the central election report centre.

During a conversation with Namibian Sun Venaani said Mujoro was arrogant and that the party would take him to task for double voting that had occurred in the recent Oshakati East by-election.

The media reported recently that a woman had voted twice while being assisted by electoral officials.

“ECN is all out to lower the standard of elections. We are going to take him to task. In fact we have written him a letter on 31 August and we are waiting for a reply,” said Venaani.

Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Mike Kavekotora said the ECN was lying and trying to mislead voters.

“A paper trail is defined by law as a piece of paper that shows that you have voted for a particular political party. And that paper is dropped in a booth, which is the paper trail we are talking about.

“We are not talking about a paper that is afterwards generated by a machine. He is just changing course because he has no concrete answer to give,” said Kavekotora.

According to Mujoro political parties were confusing a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) with a paper trail.

“The EVM in its current format can produce a paper trail. If the result displayed on any given EVM is disputed for one or other reason, any competent court in Namibia can order the ECN to produce or generate a paper trail from that specific EVM,” he said.

He added that such paper trail would clearly show which candidate or party the first until the last voter voted for.

“The significant difference is that the VVPAT does not wait for the court to instruct the ECN to produce such. It is a device which is right there in the polling station behind the ballot booth and when you come as a voter it prints a small slip and after seven seconds it falls into the ballot box. You have no dispute, no doubts in your mind. Instantly at the point of casting your vote you can verify your vote,” he said.

Double voting

During a recent media workshop Mujoro explained the double voting at Oshakati East at as an unfortunate incident.

“What happened is that somebody came in. The person issuing the ballot paper pressed the button. The person went behind the booth, meanwhile the person got distracted, started a discussion on the side-line and when she turned back she was confused as to whether she had already voted. And then she pressed again. That person voted twice,” he explained.


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