The Cordoba Transparente programme (an initiative carried out in conjunction with the foundation citizens 365 and FUNDEPS) presents it’s electoral mission report developed during the last elections in the province of Cordoba, Argentina.
In the context of the election of local authorities in Cordoba, the Cordoba Transparente programme (carried out in conjunction with the foundation citizens 365 and FUNDEPS) launched an Electoral Observation Mission with a double aim. On the one hand it monitors the functioning of a new electoral system, which is the result of a political reform put in place in 2008. On the other hand, it looks at consolidation of democracy, through an independent domestic electoral observation, a practice that is completely new in our province. This helps to us to progress further down the road that the electoral observation in Marcos Juarez started us on in 2010.
Following on from this, we present a Final Report on Electoral Observation that has been put together under the agreement reached by our own institutions and the judicial powers of the region, under the general guidelines for experiences and electoral observation missions of nationals and non-nationals approved by the regulatory agreement 1066/A of the high court of justice. The independent domestic electoral observation is for institutes lacking regulation in the electoral regime in Cordoba. As a consequence, The Cordoba Transparente initiative has put in place, the formalisation of a practice that we trust will over time consolidate and multiply between independent organisations in a serious and responsible way. Some of the most important general observations that are elaborated on in the report as follows:
- Key delays in the opening of homes were created.
- When they receive the vote, the authorities found themselves with unfinished items.
- The electoral rolls that were taken in the establishment were not visible or hadn’t even been placed inside the school.
- In the schools that were observed (throughout the region, where it was possible to know) the press were denied Access to the establishments at the time of vote counting.
- Worries over the distribution of polls on the vote at 11am and at 5pm by local poll companies. Means of communication replicate the information at 6pm, worsening the infringement.
In particular, regarding the electronic vote, the current report presents a comparison of the systems used in Marcos Juarez in 2010 and La Falda in 2011, two cases that were both observed by the Cordoba Transparente Programme. The new system responds to the objections linked to the possibility of tracking voting, with the consequent threat to the secrecy of the vote. On the other hand, technicians within the licensed company acted as de facto attorneys at a time when there was no investigation of the source code of the software used, information that was not provided to politicians, attorneys or electoral observers. The following are a few more observations:
- The first objection is linked to the choosing of the location to implement the new voting mechanism. The citizens of Marcos Juarez need to learn to use the electronic vote in 2010 and then ‘unlearn’ the system to qualify as a single ticket.
- As they have already indicated, the citizens think there has been insufficient training, which is evidence of the difficulties that some voters are facing
- The training via simulations of electronic voting carried out in the same school, on the same day of voting, used official images of the candidates, which motivated questioning amongst voters (asked directly to the Cordoba Transparente observers) regarding the risk that this entails for the secrecy of the vote. In light of this, the company says that proper electoral justice had imposed these conditions of simulation.
- Experts in the company MSA are reconsulting with electoral public attorneys who require a revision of privatisation of the electoral system if they are hoping to put electronic voting in place throughout the region.
- If the technical errors were minor (imperfections to do with the chips, ballots, or printing) work must be done on the details of the system for a possible large scale application
- The source code of the software that the machines use was not integrated with political parties, electronic taxes, or the observers of Cordoba Transparente when they asked. To audit this, the parties could only do it when accompanied by MSA technicians. No party audited the source code.
César Múrua / Director Ejecutivo
Translated by Luke Sidaway