Electronic voting is not for the diaspora only, but also for other citizens, including those who travel or cannot move. A number of activities and about 200 services were moved online in the recent past, but in Moldova they continue to vote on paper. The law on the holographic signature enables to use the digital signature and the classical one and 17% of the Moldovan citizens have a digital signature. There are particular risks in electronic and postal voting, but these risks are controllable, Victor Guzun, expert in e-transformation and public administration reform at the Laboratory of Initiatives for Development (LDI Moldova), said in IPN’s public debate “Alternative voting methods: benefits and risks, pros and cons”.
The expert said the alternative voting methods have been used for 16 years in Estonia, where he lives, and no vote was compromised in the period. “About 46% of the electors voted online at the last elections in Estonia. Electronic voting is a reality and this will be introduced in the Republic of Moldova too,” he stated.
According to Victor Guzun, both electronic voting and postal voting are needed in Moldova as the Moldovans do not yet have the alternatives enjoyed by the citizens of other states. “In Estonia, there are three days during which the citizens can vote, including through mail. There can be accepted even seven voting days and the citizen’s last vote during these seven days is taken into account. If the vote does not reach the Central Election Commission for particular reasons, there are three days during which the problem can be remedied – the citizen goes to the polling place and votes physically,” he stated.
The expert said electronic voting in Estonia is ten times cheaper compared with the classical method. “The risks of voting online are controllable as the technicians renew the security systems. From technical viewpoint there are no particular risks as it is impossible to erase particular information. The citizens who are eligible to vote should realize that e-voting does not advantage a particular political party. If the citizens identify irregularities they can see online, they can notify the police and the prosecutor’s office. At the same time, electronic voting involves particular risks in dictatorial regimes and a number of questions appear here,” stated Victor Guzun, noting that e-voting in Estonia is primarily used by older persons and the Moldovans everyone will only benefit from the implementation of electronic voting.
As to the period for implementing alternative voting methods, the expert said the e-voting system developed by Estonia during 16 years can be developed by Ukraine during a year as technologies develop at a higher speed and Ukraine can avoid the mistakes made by Estonia. “In Armenia, e-voting is used by representatives of embassies and this voting alternative is this way tested there. In the Republic of Moldova, electronic voting can be introduced gradually, which is it can be tested in two, three, four, five electoral cycles,” stated Victor Guzun.
The public debate “Alternative voting methods: benefits and risks, pros and cons” is the 182nd installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is implemented with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.