US warns Congo against us­ing elec­tronic vot­ing sys­tem

Global Times - - World -

The US warned the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo on Mon­day against us­ing an elec­tronic vot­ing sys­tem for a long-de­layed pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in De­cem­ber this year be­cause it has the po­ten­tial to un­der­mine the cred­i­bil­ity of the poll.

US Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley told an in­for­mal UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing on the Con­golese elec­toral process that de­ploy­ing “an un­fa­mil­iar tech­nol­ogy for the first time dur­ing a cru­cial elec­tion is an enor­mous risk.”

“These elec­tions must be held by pa­per bal­lots so there is no ques­tion by the Con­golese peo­ple about the re­sults. The US has no ap­petite to sup­port an elec­tronic vot­ing sys­tem,” Ha­ley told the meet­ing, which was or­ga­nized by the United States.

Sev­eral other coun­tries on the 15-mem­ber coun­cil also raised con­cerns about the pos­si­ble use of elec­tronic vot­ing.

An elec­tion to re­place Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila, who has been in power since his fa­ther was shot dead in of­fice in 2001, is sched­uled for the end of De­cem­ber. Congo’s elec­toral com­mis­sion fin­ished reg­is­ter­ing 46 mil­lion vot­ers last month.

Re­peated stalling of the elec­tion has raised ten­sions across the coun­try, trig­ger­ing street protests and en­cour­ag­ing armed re­bel­lions, es­pe­cially since Ka­bila re­fused to step down when his man­date ex­pired at the end of 2016.

Corneille Nan­gaa, Pres­i­dent of the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion, told the in­for­mal Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing that us­ing vot­ing ma­chines would “re­duce the weight of all the equip­ment de­ployed from 16,000 tons to less than 8,000 tons.”

How­ever, Rushdi Nack­er­dien, Africa di­rec­tor for the In­ter­na­tional Foun­da­tion for Elec­toral Sys­tems, said “these ma­chines still need to be tested, con­fig­ured, de­ployed and used in a tense mis­trust­ful con­text.”

“On a sin­gle day it is pro­posed that roughly 106,000 ma­chines must work flaw­lessly across 90,000 polling sta­tions.”

“Se­cur­ing these ma­chines and the data they trans­mit from cy­ber at­tacks will be crit­i­cal and chal­leng­ing,” he said.

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