The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said they will put out a tender for new voter registration technology.
According to Business Tech, the IEC want to update the technology used to support voter registration and the voter’s roll on voting day.
“The approach used to date – that of scanning an identity document and recording the data – is now outdated and inadequate for future purpose,” the IEC said in a statement. “The Electoral Commission intends to harness advances in appropriate technology and apply them in this solution.”
The tender procured 60,000 portable devices to replace the ageing “zip-zip” devices used to scan IDs and register voters since 1998.
This comes after multiple issues during the national election in May. According to News24, nineteen people were arrested in three KwaZulu-Natal municipalities for “double voting” and South Africans took to Twitter showing how easily the black voting ink can be rubbed off.
This is not to say that technology could be the definitive answer to South Africa’s voting concerns. Other countries which have introduced electronic voting systems are often faced with significant electoral fraud concerns despite the new technology. According to The Guardian, the US use of electronic voting machines opens them up to security breaches and hacking attempts.
Other countries have used electronic voting machines in the past but have since gone back to manual voting as a result of flaws in their systems. One such country was the Netherlands, which implemented e-voting but went back to paper ballots after anti-e-voting activists proved the system’s vulnerability through an experimental hack.
While this new tender is not a new electronic voting machine but rather a new voter registration device, the problems raised by electronic voting machine show how improved technology solutions can still contain serious faults.
Image: IEC/ Twitter