Elections Commission (EC) President Ahmed Shareef has said that e-voting systems are not necessary in Maldives under present conditions.
EC President Shareef made the remarks while attending a meeting of the People's Majlis Public Accounts Committee, to discuss budget allocations ahead for the upcoming Local Council and Women's Development Committee (WDC) Elections. EC's President Shareef had been questioned about the feasibility of e-voting systems in Maldives, to which he said that such systems are not needed in the Maldives under present conditions.
EC President Shareef noted that other countries using e-voting systems also used other machinery designed for vote collection within large populations. He added that such equipment was used to speed up vote-counting efforts in countries where significantly more votes are cast than in Maldives.
He went on to take examples of electronic vote-counting systems in place in Philippines, South Korea and India, and stated that using such machinery in Maldives would not be feasible in Maldives, as only 272,000 or so people were eligible to vote in the upcoming elections. He also noted that votes could be counted manually to announce election results in six to seven hours in the Maldives.
Shareef also declared that the citizens of Maldives still trusted the security of the ballot paper over machinery, and announced that the sentiment was shared by the Elections Commission and vote officials as well.
However, EC President Shareef also affirmed that some electronic voting systems could be used in the Maldives, such as online voting portals. He highlighted that such changes to the electoral system would require legislation and vote regulations to be changed as well. The topic of e-voting has been explored in the Maldives at a policy-level before, despite no such change being pursued or implemented thus far.