ECN and Swanu Differ Over Voting System for Elections

Swanu of Namibia has proposed that the Electoral Commission of Namibia concurrently use the electronic voting system and the ballot system during the upcoming elections that will precede the November’s national elections. ECN shot down the proposal by saying that two casting methods cannot be used for one election as it can cause confusion.

“I am very sceptical about the capacity of ECN to successfully run the elections electronically. The electronic and ballot system must be used together during the upcoming election so that we can see if they will deliver the same results,” Swanu of Namibia’s President Usutuaije Maamberua told New Era last week.

“No no no..we cannot do that because you do not want to run an election using different casting methods. There is no guarantee that a voter who votes for a certain candidate on the machine will vote for the same candidate on the ballot paper. This will cause confusion and you do not want that, therefore we will use one casting system only,” said ECN’s Director for Operations, Theo Mujoro, in response to Maamberua’s proposal.

Three elections will precede the national elections: Namely, a by-election for the Ohangwena Constituency in the Ohangwena Region, which was prompted by the death of constituency councillor, Maria Kombwana and two Local Authority elections for Bukalo and Otjinene in the Zambezi and Omaheke Regions respectively.

The Otjinene elections were prompted by government’s decision to change the status of Otjinene from a settlement to a town.

Mujoro informed New Era yesterday that the two local authority elections will be held simultaneously on a yet-to-be decided date, adding that only the electronic voting machines will be used during the three upcoming elections.

The Swanu president says not enough has been done by the ECN in terms of educating the electorate to win their trust with regards to the electronic voting system.

In any institution, Maamberua said,” if a new system is introduced, it is first tested by running it concurrently with the old system.”

“I can guarantee you that no one will trust the election outcome presented by the electronic voting system if it is not tested in an actual election such as the by-elections,” said Maamberua.

Maamberua said his party will be fielding candidates for all three elections.

Source : New Era