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Namibia relooks use of EVMs

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The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) plans to engage political parties and civil society organisations on the next steps, following a court decision declaring the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) unconstitutional.

This is according to a senior official. EVMs were introduced in Namibia in 2014 as an efficient and reliable mode of voting, ultimately replacing ballot papers. The technology was used in the 2014 and 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections, before the country’s Supreme Court ruled this year that the use of EVMs was unconstitutional, unless there is a verifiable paper trail.

ECN Chief Electoral Officer, Theo Mujoro told the state-run Namibian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday, 4 October 2020, that the commission “will not be using the EVMs in the foreseeable future.”

“As to what will happen to this technology, the commission already took a decision, a resolution, that as soon as we are done with the forthcoming elections, we need to bring our stakeholders together so that we look at the issue of these EVMs,” Mujoro said.

Namibians are headed to the polls in November to elect new regional council and local authority leaders. Mujoro said there are a number of options that the stakeholders could consider.

“Do we want to pursue the idea of acquiring paper trail technology, so that the next time we use this technology in our elections the VVPAT (Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail) is available? Is that the option? Do we want to look at other technologies?”

The VVPAT system enables EVMs to record each vote cast by generating a slip for each voter. The use of EVMs caused an uproar since its introduction in Namibia, with opposition parties claiming that the technology was being used to rig the elections in favour of the ruling SWAPO Party.

-APA

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