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SA could benefit from electronic voting

The issue of electronic voting is not whether SA is ready, it’s a matter of when – expert.

IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula said the recent elections in Kenya have shown what can happen when technology fails. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Snaking queues in the hot sun are often a key feature of local government and national elections - but that could soon change.

An information, communications and technology (ICT) expert on Monday said South Africa will benefit from electronic voting.

But the main issue is, when will the country be ready?

Surendra Thakur was commissioned by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to do research on e-voting systems.

He briefed a seminar in Cape Town on his findings.

Thakur seemed reluctant to give a definitive response when asked whether South Africa should change to an electronic voting system.

"I can take any position and defend it for a very long time. I do support electronic voting; I really think that it will be useful in the context of South Africa. The issue is when."

The disadvantages include concerns about the security of data, while a key advantage is the fast and accurate counting of votes.

IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula said the recent elections in Kenya have shown what can happen when technology fails.

She said the commission has yet to decide on whether to adopt electronic voting.