WINDHOEK: Members of the public are this week getting the opportunity for the first time to view the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) acquired by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) last year.
Visitors to the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show 2012 have been flocking to the ECN stand since the show commenced last Friday to view the two machines which were acquired from India at a cost of around N.dollars 22 million last year.
Also on display is the Voters’ Registration Kit (VRK).
The VRK and EVM are expected to be used in the next national elections set to take place in 2014, subject to all political parties and other stakeholders agreeing to the machines being used.
The VRK is an advanced biometric information system, which allows for the registration of voters in a speedy and accurate fashion.
It produces identification document (ID) type voters’ cards which contain a variety of security features. The registration kit uses biometric aspects to capture data for each person at the registration venue, which includes fingerprints, a photo and personal information in text format.
ECN employee Lawrence Hochobeb told Nampa on Sunday that he has been kept busy since the start of the show as show-goers turn up in numbers to find out how the two machines will be used during elections.
“Our aim here is to explain to the public how these machines work, and to get suggestions and opinions pertaining to the usage of the machines,” he stated.
Explaining how the EVMs work, Hochobeb said there is ‘no scope for invalid votes’, and the total secrecy of voting data is maintained.
He noted that the machines facilitate quick and accurate counting, adding that election results can be declared on the same day, at the end of the poll, as the results are automatically available “through the press of a button”.
The voting data stored in EVMs can also be retained for years, and then be extracted if necessary.
“The EVM is for fast, reliable, free and fair elections in Namibia. It retains all the characteristics of voting by ballot papers, while making polling efficient and expedient,” he explained.
Hochobeb further stated that the machines are fast, reliable, tamper-proof and also save considerable time, money and personnel power.
Some of the members of the public Nampa spoke to at the show were however not as positive, with some saying the utilisation of the machines will create unemployment and poverty because it will replace those people who used to be employed to carry out certain duties during elections.
“It is better to use manual elections and employ our young people wandering in the country’s streets,” said one of the show-goers.
Others expressed concern that the machines would be tampered with.
“Machines are made by people, and people can tamper with them for their own benefit,” said another one of the show-goers.
He added that perfecting the current manual voting system until such a time that Namibia is confident about the electronic system, would be a better option.
“I am scared that we are creating more court cases and disputes in our elections’ system,” he added.
The show ends on Saturday.