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Experts urge African nations to embrace electronic voting

Experts urge African nations to embrace electronic voting.

While analysts have lauded the role mobile devices and connectivity has played in the recent presidential elections in Ivory Coast, there is concern over the slow adoption and application of this technology in the voting process.

Election observers have urged the West African country to improve its use of technology following the recent presidential election in which incumbent President Alassane Ouattara secured victory.

"Usage of new technologies and computerisation of the voting process will significantly help deal with vote rigging in most African states that are still struggling with democracy. The Ivory Coast election showed that it is possible to use technology and computers for such functions," said regional analyst Johannes Kwangwari.

Reports claim that some candidates in the Ivorian election pulled out of the race at the last minute citing irregularities, including allegations that PCs used by officials to verify identities had malfunctioned.

"There were also widespread issues with the electronic tablet computers that polling officers had to use – apparently some officers saw the machines for the first time on Sunday, and took a bit of time to work out how to use them," said François Conradie, an analyst at NKC African Economics.

As a result the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) extended voting period by two hours, it said, at affected stations.

Electronic voting on the continent has been the subject of controversy of late with officials in Congo Brazzaville, an African country that recently held a referendum on presidential term limits, accused of shutting down internet connectivity ahead of the key event.


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