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Electoral Commission shuns EVM usage citing time challenge and costs

Electoral Commission shuns EVM usage citing time challenge and costs

By Adolf Kaure.

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), Elsie Nghikembua, said that there was not sufficient time to research the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) model which subsequently led to it being abandoned.

Speaking at a two-week training of registration officials assigned to foreign missions which started on Monday in Swakopmund, she said “When you are introducing new technology, you need to explain very well to the stakeholders and we felt that four years for us is not sufficient because even with the EVMs that were introduced in 2014, it took ten years from the research to the debates, to the commission travelling together with all the political party representatives to India to look at the model before there was an agreement.”

“I am sure that you would agree with me that four years is a very short time and that is the reason why we stayed with conventional voting methods,” she said.

According to Nghikembua, the slowing economy played a role in the ECN not prioritizing the use of EVMs in recent elections.

“As a commission we considered this issue of cost and we obliged. But we did not spend time to try and find a different version of EVMs because for us it is not a priority. Why is not a priority? If you look at the current economic conditions, would EVMs be the priority? They would not,” said Nghikembua.

She revealed that for the upcoming elections manual ballet papers would be used and she further clarified misleading reports from the local press that claimed that she said that Namibia would never use EVMs.

“I did not say that the commission will never use EVMs. However, for both the presidential and national assembly elections for 2024 and the regional and local authority elections of 2025, we are going to use manual ballet papers.”

Registration for the 2024 Namibian presidential and national assembly elections will start on 03 June and run until 01 August.

Electoral Commission Chairperson, Elsie Nghikembua (at the podium) addresses the registration officials during the training workshop this week in Swakopmund. (Photograph by Adolf Kaure)


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