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NUPW using electronic voting for elections

When members of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) turn up at polling stations on April 1 to vote for a new executive committee, they will be casting their votes electronically.

The NUPW’s acting general secretary Roslyn Smith confirmed to Barbados TODAY that the general council of the union took the decision to introduce electronic voting machines at its meeting last week.

A Canadian non-governmental organization (NGO) has offered nine to ten voting machines to be placed in the polling areas, a source informed Barbados TODAY.

Danny Gill, one of the candidates in the presidential vote, said he did not have a problem with technology but had some concerns about ensuring the integrity of the vote.

Danny Gill

Danny Gill

“When you place the ballot paper into the machine, it starts to automatically count the votes. My concern would be who is in charge in keeping that count secret until the end of the voting period,” he said.

“You can have a situation, if you have someone who is not favourably disposed to you, they can call someone to inform them that the other candidate is trailing you and summon them to cast their vote.”

He also pointed to the potential for vote rigging, as has happened with electronic voting in the United States in the past.

“I am not saying there will be a difficulty with the NGO involved. The problem I am having is in each of these elections there are people who are backing certain people and who would be there around the machines. My concern would be how do you secure that vote until you are ready to press some button and say ‘well you have ten votes and the others have one two or three votes’,”  he added.

Gill suggested that Smith and Chairman of the Election Committee Ian Browne set up “serious systems” to ensure the integrity of the vote is maintained.

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