An exploratory study on the planning and design of a future e-voting system for South Africa
Masuku, Wiseman Khethokwakhe
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This study focuses on the future role and nature of an e-voting system for a future electoral system in South Africa. The study is of the view that rapid technological advancement and opportunities may contribute to efficient and effective e-voting systems. The study will investigate the international experience where initiatives have been undertaken, particularly in countries like the USA, the Netherlands, India, and Nigeria. Lessons born out of experience have been identified to highlight best practice and potential problems to be avoided in our future elections. As an outcome, the study indirectly seeks ways to increase turnout, particularly amongst the youth, increase voting access (everywhere and anytime), cost effectiveness and availability of quick national election results. The primary objective of this study has been to develop future options for the planning and design of an e-voting for South Africa. From the outset of this research, the critical issue was not only about e-voting, but rather the planning and designing of an e-voting system. Suffice it to say that the central issue about e-voting was not whether electronic voting should be developed but how and in what ways it should be designed and planned for successful implementation. Interestingly enough, this question has been bothering the IEC as well, particularly pertaining to planning (see 1.5.3). In a nutshell, it is against this background that experts on elections were interviewed. The research investigation found that many problems still existed in South African elections. This research found that both participation and communication are the main pillars in any policy or project. The study revealed that e-voting would appeal to younger voters and will subsequently boost turnout in SA. In a nutshell, this study found that members of the public and election experts were in favor of telephone voting and SMS, Internet voting, and EVMs. However, it was noted that rural communities would benefit in the long run from e-voting because they are still faced with an infrastructure backlog. Proper planning supported by sound planning principles need to be done to ensure that a e-voting in SA will be made successful and specific recommendations were made in this regard.