What should be top priority for election?

Monday, 13 March 2017 03:30 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 67 times

The use of innovative technology for election has become a hot debate these days. It is said that representatives of a foreign firm have come to Afghanistan to get the contract of use of technology for election. The president of the company has also reportedly attended an advisory Afghan government meeting about election, and presented information about his company’s activities and experience in the field. At the final consultative meeting held on Saturday, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has agreed to carry out the upcoming election using technology. IEC chairperson has said they have come to the conclusion after evaluating the pros and cons of the use of innovative technology that it is very useful to bring into play innovative technology for election.

 

  The government’s posture on election seems that it intends to assign the voting to the private sector. While the employment of technology is a helpful step that can contribute to the transparency of election, it is not a top priority. There are many questions in this regard that need to be addressed. If the electoral process is due to become electronic, the government has to share detailed information with people, because if the electoral commissions, as national institutions, cannot be trusted, it is not easy to put faith in a private firm to shape the future of a great nation. 

The computerization of election cannot fully guarantee its transparency all alone. Suppose that the election becomes electronic, but if there is no security, the tenet of inclusiveness of election will be a serious question that can hurt the legitimacy of the resultant government. If insecurity persists, the possibility of interference even in electronic voting also remains high. If strongmen can now stuff ballot boxes in a region, they can also force and bully a computer operator of the private company to increase or decrease the number of votes cast. 

Afghan people want transparency in election and all efforts in this respect should be made based on priorities. The most primary and important element to have a transparent election is security. If there is no security, and if as a result, some Afghans are deprived of their right to go to the polls, even transparent election cannot grant legitimacy to the government because the principle of the inclusivity of election has been flouted. Thus, the government needs to ensure security before anything else because any election without security is flawed as any other national process.