This platform is an initiative of five Congolese civil society organisations: the Congolese Association for Access to Justice (ACAJ), Action for Transparent and Peaceful Elections (AETA), Filimbi, Congolais Débout, and Fight for Change (Lucha).

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Condition #9: voting or cheating machines

Twitter/@CNangaa

-> Transparency and confidence in the voting system.

The “voting machines vs. cheating machines” debate has been poisoning the electoral process for months. From electronic to semi-electronic voting, followed by the voting machine, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) has changed the name of this contraption several times, but without alleviating the controversy.

The brutal introduction of the “voting machine” by the Independent national electoral commission (Ceni) without consulting the stakeholders has become one of the main reasons behind the loss of confidence in the Ceni. This is aggravated by the fact that the electoral schedule, although late, never mentioned it. Today this machine is unanimously rejected, except by the Ceni and the regime. The opposition, civil society and international partners are calling for its abandonment, but Ceni is totally opposed and does not even want to discuss it. Practical issues (batteries, electricity, computer problems, etc.), usage issues (computers, touch screens, etc.) begging the question of how voters who have never seen a computer in their life are going to use one, but also issues relating to cyber-security (hacking, data transmission, etc.) remain unanswered. There is also the problem of costs and logistics.

The divide remains intact. The opposition is demanding the abandonment of the voting machine and is threatening to withdraw from the electoral process. Ditto for the United States, which informed the Security Council that it considers the Ceni’s approach an unnecessary risk. British experts who worked on this machine say much the same thing, and have listed a whole series of imperfections and risks that contradict the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni). The problems range from the price of the machine, which is considered very high ($ 800 by the experts, $ 1,500 by the Ceni) to the specifications, as yet incomplete. In other words, the cost of using voting machines will be higher than using paper ballots. Electronic voting is only profitable in the long term; not the first time it is used. We believe that the true motivations for this machine lie elsewhere.

Our organizations believe that if the voting machine is used, we will have chaotic elections. In fact, a number of computer experts are warning of possible failures on election day. Moreover, there are not enough spare machines. The time allotted to voting may jeopardise the voters’ choice. Another problem is voting secrecy, since millions of people who have never used a computer will require outside assistance. In view of the above, it is not too late to give up the idea. The stubbornness of the Independent national electoral commission (Ceni) can only vindicate those who think the voting machine equates to large-scale fraud.

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