Headline June 16, 2015/ ''' THE HIGH - HEEL [OF] : ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEM '"

''' THE HIGH - HEEL [OF] : 


A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY -in an imperfect world begins, and then renews, every endeavour,  by holding fair, transparent, and self-respecting elections.

An election, in just about every way, is the solvent of all your dreams, struggles, passions and worthiness. And the dwindling prestige of  fair and free elections, is a grave and a recurring matter.

''With great elections, all passions fuse into resolves, that reverberate within the mortals, and bring to the human mind the solace of a revelatory vision.''

Electronic Voting Machine is very expensive thought and that inherently still has..... multitude of security problems.

And, strictly  in the context of the type of climate that exists in a developing world, these machines actually exacerbate the threat of rigging.

Take the case of Pakistan, and see what research says:

''Here we argue that if we are to commit to Electronic Voting Machines  deployment, it must be undertaken very carefully with years of pilot projects, trial runs and research studies.

In other words, it would be a very bad idea to deploy full fledged electronic voting system in time for the  2018  polls.

To make this case, we look at the countries that have experimented with Electronic Voting Machines and and ask............what sort of challenges can we expect?

CONSIDERING THE TECHNICAL issues ahead, Kenya is a good example of how   not    to deploy the Electronic Voting Machines.

The 2007 Kenyan paper-based elections had been highly controversial with widespread electoral fraud triggering mass riots and a round of vicious ethnic cleansing.

Given this backdrop, the shiny new electronic voting system deployed for the 2013 Kenyan Presidential elections had a lot riding on it.

This new system was reportedly  ''tamper proof'' .

Biometric scanners would check voter fingerprints against voter lists in real-time. Election results would be transmitted from polling stations via  SMS to the tallying centre and show up right away on a big screen.

A European Union observer noted that this system was more modern than anything implemented in the European Union.

However this was a perfect storm.

In several instances, fingerprint scanners refused to identify legitimate voters. 

Election staff forgot  PIN  numbers and passwords to access the Electronic Voting Machines.

Several polling stations did not have electric sockets and batteries started to die out. When the technology failed, several polling stations reverted to back-up paper ballots:

[Which ended up delaying the announcement of election results by a week.]

A single server, meant to collect results from  33,400 polling stations via  SMS, collapsed under the strain.

The Telco, Safaricom, had advised the election commission to test-run the system thoroughly beforehand but it had only done one small last-minute trial.

Returning officers were ultimately chauffeured and even flown down to the tallying centre in Nairobi to communicate results for their polling stations in person.

In countries like Pakistan, such adhoc collapse scenarios are unfortunately too real. 

What these examples hopefully make clear is that we must not let the trauma of the 2013 election fiasco drive us headlong into another potential disaster.

It would be delusional  for Pakistan to think to consider large-scale  Electronic Voting Machine  deployment by 2018.

Pakistan should start with baby steps : we will most certainly encounter unexpected contingencies which will necessitate a rethink of strategy. If they are any show-stoppers  [there will most certainly be legal challenges].

It is prudent to let them play out before we invest in tens of thousands of expensive machines.

There needs to be vigorous public discussions and citizen education programs. Trials should be transparent to observers and and media personnel.

If we're truly serious, we should even commission studies by election security professionals and legal experts.

With respectful dedication to Taha Ali, Research Associate, Newcastle University, UK, for his work on the  ''next generation of voting systems, cryptocurrencies, and security for emerging networks.''

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' !WOW! Glorious !WOW! "'

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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