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Nape Suggests Electronic Voting for Tanzania: Discover the Basics Here.

Electronic Voting in Tanzania

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In a recent forum, Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology Nape Nnauye shared the government’s plan to modernise the upcoming elections with technology. The idea of Electronic Voting in Tanzania is to allow people to vote online, eliminating the need to stand in long lines waiting to vote. This move towards digital voting is no surprise since 34 million Tanzanians are internet users. Minister Nnauye made this announcement in Dar es Salaam during the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2023, a significant event that saw participation from over 30 countries with more than 200 attendees.

Tanzania won’t be the first in Africa; Namibia was the first African country to use electronic voting during its general elections on 28 November 2014. However, navigating electronic voting can be a new and sensitive endeavour for Tanzania. Hence, it’s crucial to shed light on some fundamental aspects, or the ABCs, of Electronic Voting. As Tanzania ventures into this digital frontier, understanding and addressing these fundamental aspects can pave the way for a successful transition to electronic voting, making the electoral process more robust and inclusive.

Electronic Voting 101

In today’s digital age, many countries look for new ways to make voting more accessible and more efficient. One such method is electronic voting, or e-voting, which Tanzania is considering for its upcoming elections, as mentioned by Minister Nape Nnauye. Here’s a simple breakdown of what electronic voting entails and the various forms it can take:

  1. What is Electronic Voting?
    • Electronic voting is a way for people to cast their votes using computers or other electronic devices instead of the traditional paper and pen. It’s like choosing your favourite song on a music app, but in this case, you’re selecting the candidate you want to vote for.
  2. How Does it Work?
    • In an e-voting system, you would log in to a secure website or use a special voting machine to cast your vote. Just like when you log in to your email, you’d have a username and a password to ensure it’s really you voting.
  3. Types of Electronic Voting:
    • Remote Internet Voting: Allows voters to cast their ballots from anywhere with internet access, like home or work. It’s convenient and can be done at any time.
    • Kiosk Internet Voting: Voters go to specific locations where there are computers set up for voting.
    • Polling Place Internet Voting: Similar to traditional voting, you go to a polling station, but instead of a paper ballot, you use a computer to cast your vote.
    • Precinct Internet Voting: Almost the same as polling place internet voting, but you have to go to a specific polling station assigned to you to cast your vote electronically.
    • Telephone/Mobile/Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Voting: Allows voters to cast their ballots using their phones, making it convenient and accessible.

Now that you’ve caught up on possible systems let’s come back home.

Hypothetical Scenario: Electronic Voting in Tanzania

As Tanzania gears up for its upcoming elections, the government, led by the Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye, is exploring the possibility of introducing electronic voting (e-voting) to modernise the electoral process. Here’s a hypothetical scenario of how e-voting could unfold in Tanzania:

  1. Preparation Phase:
    • Infrastructure Setup: The government invests in robust Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to ensure a secure and reliable e-voting system. This includes setting up secure servers, voting kiosks in public places, and ensuring reliable internet connectivity nationwide.
    • Public Awareness Campaign: A nationwide campaign is launched to educate the public on the new e-voting system, how to use it, and the benefits it brings in terms of convenience and accessibility.
    • Testing and Auditing: The e-voting system is tested through mock elections to identify and fix any glitches before the actual election. An independent audit is conducted to ensure the system’s security and reliability.
  2. Election Day:
    • Remote Internet Voting: Eligible voters can log into a secure e-voting platform from their computers or smartphones, authenticate their identity, and cast their votes for their preferred candidates.
    • Kiosk and Polling Place Internet Voting: For those without internet access at home, voting kiosks and traditional polling stations equipped with e-voting machines are set up. Voters can visit these locations, authenticate their identity, and cast their votes electronically.
    • Real-Time Monitoring: Election officials monitor the voting process in real time to address any issues promptly. The e-voting system provides real-time data on voter turnout and other relevant statistics.
  3. Post-Election:
    • Vote Tallying: The e-voting system automatically tallies the votes, significantly reducing the time taken to announce the results.
    • Audit and Verification: A post-election audit is conducted to verify the accuracy of the electronic vote tally. This includes checking for any signs of system tampering or fraud.
    • Result Announcement: Once the audit is completed and the results verified, the election commission announces the results to the public.
  4. Evaluation:
    • Feedback Collection: Feedback is collected from the public, election officials, and other stakeholders on their experience with the e-voting system.
    • System Evaluation: An evaluation is conducted to assess the e-voting system’s performance, identify improvement areas, and plan for future elections.

This hypothetical scenario envisions a seamless transition to e-voting in Tanzania, leveraging technology to enhance the democratic process while ensuring the integrity and transparency of elections. Through meticulous planning, public education, and rigorous testing and auditing, Tanzania could successfully implement e-voting, making voting more accessible and convenient for its citizens.

Our take on Electronic Voting in Tanzania

A quick research online following Nape’s statement, we came across similar and predicted polarisation. One side sees this as the best option; another one sees it as another gimmick for ‘bao la mkono’. However, we can confidently say this is coming; it may not be in the 2025 election, but indeed, down the line, we have to adopt these strategies as a country. When that day comes, here is our take on various issues surrounding Electronic Voting in Tanzania.

  1. Investment in ICT Infrastructure:
    • A significant investment in Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure is crucial to ensure a secure and reliable e-voting system. This includes setting up secure servers, ensuring reliable internet connectivity across the country, and establishing voting kiosks in public places for those without internet access at home.
  2. Legislation:
    • Adequate legislation needs to be put in place to govern the use of e-voting systems. This legislation should cover aspects like data privacy, security, and the authentication of voters to prevent fraud and ensure the integrity of the electoral process.
  3. Voter Education:
    • Intensive voter education is necessary to build trust among voters and to ensure they understand how to use the e-voting system. This education campaign should cover the benefits of e-voting, how to use the system, and the measures put in place to ensure the security and integrity of their votes.
  4. Security Measures:
    • Robust security measures are essential to protect the e-voting system from hacks, viruses, and other potential threats that could alter election results. This includes ensuring the secure transmission of votes and protecting the system against unauthorised access.
  5. Testing and Auditing:
    • Before the election, the e-voting system should be thoroughly tested through mock elections to identify and fix glitches. Additionally, independent audits should be conducted to verify the system’s security and reliability.
  6. Accessibility:
    • The e-voting system should be designed to be accessible to all eligible voters, including those with disabilities, those living abroad, and those who may be travelling or on duty during election day. This inclusivity will ensure that everyone can exercise their democratic rights.
  7. Real-Time Monitoring and Post-Election Audits:
    • Real-time monitoring during the election and post-election audits is crucial to ensure the electronic vote tally’s accuracy and verify the e-voting system’s overall performance.
  8. Cost Analysis:
    • A thorough cost analysis should be conducted to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the e-voting system compared to traditional voting methods. This analysis should consider the costs of setting up and maintaining the e-voting system, as well as the potential savings in terms of reduced ballot printing, fewer election staff, and quicker vote tallying.

Also Read: Tanzania Pioneering Path to Digital Inclusion

 

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Eli Isaac
Eli Isaac
5 months ago

While Nape wants electronic voting, Republicans in America want paper ballots and voter ids. They want to do away with electronic voting! Ironic!🤣🤣🤣

Haramba
Haramba
4 months ago
Reply to  Eli Isaac

Very Ironic…

Electronic voting has flaws..
1st world country is failing to effiently control it …in 3rd world country it will be a source of Election frauds..

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