Political parties against electronic voting despite financial advantages: EC

Addu City Hithadhoo WDC by-election | Photo: EC

Malé, Maldives – The President of the Elections Commission (EC) Fuad Thaufeeq on Saturday stated that both opposition and ruling political parties were against introducing electronic voting systems despite efforts to introduce them on separate occasions since 2008.

EC President Fuad stated this while speaking to local news “The Press” following extremely low voter turnout at the Addu City, Hithadhoo Women’s Development Committee by-election last week. The Vice President of EC Ismail Habeeb stated that spending hundreds of thousands for elections with minimal voter turnout is a waste.

Thaufeeq highlighted that despite the initial cost to introduce e-voting system, which would cost approximately the same as one physical election, it would be more cost-efficient in the long run since this is a process that is repeated multiple times.

MVR 150,000 is spent on training, station set-ups, travel, etc. every election with over MVR 7 million spent in election costs in this year alone.

Elections Commission

Thaufeeq explained that the main reasons against introducing e-voting in the Maldives are due to,

  • Lack of public awareness and the resulting distrust of the electronic system.
  • Unpreparedness by political parties to accept the new system.
  • Absence of legal infrastructure to facilitate e-voting.
  • Initial cost.

The EC President stated that the commission attempted to introduce e-voting systems during two administrations in 2008 and 2018, with the opposition of the years (DRP, Republican Party and MDP) rejecting on both occasions.

“The public question the validity of election results despite us counting it infront of them. They won’t accept election results if conducted electronically,” added Thaufeeq.

Thaufeeq stated that the commission aims to introduce the electronic voting system in the Maldives in the 2028 election given that the 2023 election results are accepted by the public.