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Thursday, Aug 24th

Cellphone, laptop voting system tested in Namibia

votingwebsitekenya

Students at a local Namibian tertiary institution have turned to cellphones and laptops to vote in their student representative council (SRC).

The Polytechnic of Namibia’s has tested the mobile election system, developed by Adapt IT.

Juanita Frans, a manager in the computer services department at the Polytechnic of Namibia, has said that this is ‘the first time in Namibia’ that an election of this nature has been conducted electronically.

According to Frans, 2,600 students voted in the just under 4 day election.

“Everyone knows the usual paper-based method of voting, but this year our students were instead afforded the luxury of casting their votes via cell phones or laptops, from wherever they were and at any time during the stated election period,” said Frans.

“What really stands out for me is that the election results were available immediately after the election period officially closed.

“This was in stark contrast to last year, when the counting took several days to complete, even though the Poly electoral committee and staff were involved in counting throughout the night,” added Frans.

According to Amanda Lubbe of Adapt IT, the company that has developed the mobile election system, the Polytechnic of Namibia was the “beta site” for this product.

“The mobi election system enables an institution to set up any kind of election, as required. Voting then takes place via mobile devices or the web, using the same environment. Moreover, results are updated immediately and displayed in a dashboard format,” says Lubbe.

“Additional security allows for a group of authorisations to sign on before elections results are official, thereby eliminating the concern that only one person is held responsible.

“While we have developed this solution to assist the Polytechnic with its voting process, it is a product we designed in such a way that it can be utilised by a wide range of customers, for a wide range of requirements,” adds Lubbe.

Frans points out that the Polytechnic has something of a reputation for being the first when it comes to innovating with regards to the adoption of technology.

“We were the first institution to release examinations results using SMS and online access, as far back as 2006,” says Frans.

“This was followed by the provision of online registration and, just a few months ago, we launched our online application system. Clearly, the online voting system is just another one step along the technological path we are eagerly travelling.

“In fact, following the success of the SRC elections, during which over 2 600 students voted in the three and half day period allocated for the elections, we quickly decided to utilise the self-same system for our housing committee election, which also went off without a hitch.”

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