PDM wants voter paper trail for next elections

19 Sep 2018 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 19 SEP (NAMPA) – The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) will soon approach the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to enquire on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), PDM President McHenry Venaani has said.
He told Nampa in an interview on Tuesday that the party was ready for the 2019 general elections, but want to make sure the EVMs will be “fixed”.
“We want the EVMs to have a paper trail for proper verification purposes,” he said.
Venaani appealed to ECN chief, Theo Mujoro to ensure that this happens.
“We met with the ECN last year February and brought up the issue of the EVMs,” he said.
In response to this concern, Mujoro acknowledged that the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is not only a PDM concern but also of other political parties.
“Amongst other issues, there are certain non-recoverable errors associated with the printing mechanism of the VVPAT,” Mujoro noted.
He added that printer-related problems are prone to causing paper jams during the operation of the VVPAT, which could compromise the secrecy of the vote and undermine the credibility of the election process.
“The ECN as a responsible elections management body, will not introduce systems or technologies which are defective. It is clear that the VVPAT option in its current format will cause complications during the election process,” explained Mujoro.
In light of the possibility of these technical problems occurring, there are, according to Mujoro, a number of important considerations to be looked at if the possibility of non-recoverable errors is not completely eliminated.
He further explained that the technical viability of the VVPAT needs to go through more rigorous testing, adding that it would be unwise and irresponsible to reverse the gains made through the introduction of the voting machines.
Mujoro, who described the machines as “ground-breaking technology”, promised that the ECN will work closely with political parties in order to find an amicable solution to the matter.
“In the spirit of openness and transparency, the ECN would challenge any stakeholder or any member of the public to come forward and demonstrate or prove how the EVMs can be manipulated to favour or disadvantage any given political party or candidate,” he said.