Democratic Republic of Congo is going ahead with electronic voting

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo are insisting on going ahead with electronic voting for the 2018 presidential elections. This comes despite the United Nations Security Council, the USA, and several other countries suggesting to the DRC that it not use electronic voting machines, and also that Joseph Kabila consider not running for the elections.

This comes after the DRC's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) unveiled a sample of the electronic voting machine similar to those that will be used on 23 December 2018 for the presidential, legislative and local elections.

Democratic Republic of COngo Electronic Voting Machine
An example of the electronic voting machine unveiled by the Democratic Republic of Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

β€œIt’s not a cheating machine (but) a machine to simplify,” said Jean-Pierre Kalamba, Rapporteur at CENI, at a media briefing.

According to CENI, the electronic voting machines, manufactured and programmed in South Korea, work as follows:

  • A voter clicks on a photo of their chosen candidate to vote on the machine's touch screen.

  • If a voter feels they have made a mistake, apparently the mistake can be rectified on the spot.

  • Once a candidate is selected, the voter receives a print out of their vote which they then proceed to put into a ballot box.

  • Once polling stations close and voting is done, the machines will display the results which can be verified through a manual count of the ballot papers.

Although there is a manual vote part of the process, there are still many loopholes in the electronic voting process considering that 60,000 of the electronic voting machines are expected to be distributed across the DRC. These concerns have not only been raised by the UN or USA, but by the Catholic church in the DRC which has continually asked CENI to allow, ahead of the elections and during the elections, technical experts in the DRC and outside the DRC to inspect the electronic voting machines and certify that they are fit for the elections and can't be manipulated.

Opposition politicians have also expressed concerns and rejected the use of the electronic voting machines in the December 2018 elections.

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