If electronic voting is to be implemented in African countries, pilot testing has to be undertaken to allow all relevant stakeholders to test the system before its full adoption. Some African leaders are exploring, testing, and trying the e-voting system. One of them is the governor of Kaduna State in Nigeria. His administration's first use of e-Voting systems in 2018 was criticised as multiple votes were supposedly reported. The difficulties identified in 2018 had been resolved, it was reported at the end of the 2021 elections conducted. The software had been updated to prevent anyone from trying to cast a second ballot. About 18,000 ad hoc staff were deployed, whose main assignment was the verification of the voter’s register. There are undoubtedly lessons to be learned from the Kaduna experience as well as from other nations, such as Namibia and the West. In order to truly serve as a substitute for the manual election system, e-voting will need to be enhanced in its application.
Adopting e-voting systems is one thing; ensuring the integrity and credibility of elections is another. Countries' successful experiences emphasize the importance of a gradual, step-by-step design and implementation. Pilot tests in conjunction with public information campaigns over an adequate period of time appear to be the most reasonable approach.
The introduction of e-voting in Africa could significantly refashion how representative democracy is practiced. But it is also a double-edged sword because it can be manipulated and lead to conflict if not properly implemented. It is up to African leaders to help make e- voting an alternative to the current democratic practice.
Electronic voting must produce an outcome that reflects the will of the people in an environment that establishes transparency and trust. It's important to strengthen security systems that monitor votes cast over the Internet, build trust among the citizens and political parties, and equip the election management body with the tools and systems to be trusted. African countries must develop networks that can encrypt ballots cast over the Internet without the network being compromised, overloaded, or disrupted through internet shutdowns. A clear and comprehensive legal framework should be put in place to regulate e-voting implementation, which should clearly state who is eligible and the comprehensive reasons why.
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