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E-Voting System in Kenya- IBM Volunteers with the master plan

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Sometime early this month , an international team of 12 IBM employees from IBM’s Corporate Services Corps programme  completed a month-long term during which they helped support the development of an electronic master plan for the country.  The volunteers from 11 countries provided assistance to several government agencies, working on projects including providing e-government services to citizens, an e-voting master plan and a strategy to increase collaboration between education and research institutions.

Of more interest to me and i think many others was their work with Ministries of Information, Communication and Justice on plan for a simple yet accurate and transparent e-voting system. The main aim is to increase the voters confidence on the electrol process ahead of 2012 General elections.

There two main types of e-Voting systems..

  • e-voting which is physically supervised by representatives of governmental or independent electoral authorities (e.g. electronic voting machines located at polling stations);
  • Online voting where voting is performed within the voter’s sole influence, and is not physically supervised by representatives of governmental authorities (e.g. voting from one’s personal computer,mobile phone,television via the internet (i-voting).

E-voting is different from online voting, where users vote over the Internet. Under the e-voting system, polling stations would be equipped with e-voting machines which are also known as Direct-Recording Electronic voting systems (DRE). The voter is required to touch the icon next to the intended party’s symbol, on the screen, which would then be registered on paper and a receipt would be printed. The voter would then drop the receipt into a secured container for storage until the count.

I would love see the online voting implemented over  e-voting.  How easy would it be if you can just access your own computer or mobile phone and within a click of a button ….voted.  In that no need for the long lines usually witnessed at the polling stations and above all no meeting  the Political gangs hired to influence the voting for certain candidates.

On reality, online voting will take sometime to be implemented in Kenya. The number of people with access to internet is slightly ove 10million and some of them are below voting age.  The most realistic method would be electronic voting machines located at polling stations.

Advantages e-Voting

Electronic voting has many advantages over the traditional way of voting.

  1. Cost cutting..for a broke country like Kenya that can’t even feed some of her citizens, cost cutting is far more important than any other thing.
  2. Faster tabulation of results, you remember last election, people started getting restless when election results from some of the constituencies not far from Nairobi took forever to be send to KICC. Yeah it is important that the results are known as soon as possible.
  3. Improved Accessibilty.. again the incidences of some agents and returning officers disappearing with Form 16A should not be allowed to happen again…never ever.
  4. Greater Accuracy.. The last election was a big joke..votes from some constituencies were  more than registered voters, in the age of computers and calculators, that is simply unacceptable
  5. Lower risk of human and mechanical errors..due to human errors of Kivuitu and Co after the General Elections in 2007, i came to hate politics and politicians
What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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