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Cape Verde plans to debut electronic voting in 2026 elections

Cape Verde plans to debut electronic voting in 2026, the year it will hold legislative and presidential elections, the Minister of Justice announced today, adding that a broader proposal to change the electoral code is being finalized.

“As a new departure, we will think of new solutions. The DGAPE [General Direction of Support to the Electoral Process] has been working on and developing the electronic voting system with the University of Cape Verde (UniCV).

“We will be analyzing, evaluating, the steps that have already been taken, the challenges we have at this level, but we believe that if we have the resources – as far as we have the political will – in 2026, we will have electronic voting in Cape Verde,” said Joana Rosa.

"It is necessary to endow the electoral system with new technological tools, innovative instruments, and other resources," said Salif Diallo Silva.
“It is necessary to endow the electoral system with new technological tools, innovative instruments, and other resources,” said Salif Diallo Silva. (Photo: internet reproduction)

The minister, who was speaking in Praia at the swearing-in ceremony of the new director of the Cape Verdean DGAPE, Salif Diallo Silva, acknowledged the need to “reformulate” the current legal framework related to the electoral process.

To adapt it to the constitutional requirements, such as the registration process and an updated electoral database or the issuing of documentation for voters, thus putting “the electoral information system to work.”

The goal is to have soon “an electoral information system developed and adapted to the archipelagic conditions,” said Joana Rosa, guaranteeing that the government will soon bring parliament the proposed changes to the electoral code with “new solutions.”

“We will be able to work on the system, and I expect that in a short period, 2024, we will have the system working,” she added.

In this new model for the functioning of the electoral system, the introduction of electronic voting should begin in 2026, the year in which the next legislative and presidential elections are due to take place – and local elections in 2024 – although the minister did not elaborate on how this process will take place.

“From the technical point of view, the country has the conditions, we have had the support of NOSi [Operational Nucleus for the Information Society], and the UniCV has also made itself available.”

“However, we will see the best international practices at this level and try to know these realities and adapt them to our archipelagic condition and make the system work with the availability of resources,” she acknowledged.

According to the electoral register published by DGAPE on September 23, 2021, 342,777 voters were registered to vote in the last elections in Cape Verde – October 17, 2021, presidential – in the country’s 22 constituencies, while the 16 constituencies/countries abroad counted 56,087 registered voters, thus totaling 398,864 Cape Verdeans able to vote on that date.

“We want first to show, to give confidence, to the political parties. We want to give confidence to the citizens in the work that is being done. It is fundamental that the political parties have confidence in the electoral process,” said the Minister of Justice.

For the new director of DGAPE, the introduction of electronic voting in Cape Verde is to move forward as part of the priority given to the improvement, modernization, and innovation of the electoral process, and “as soon as possible,” depending on the resources available for the purpose.

“Cape Verde has been taking important steps in constructing a democratic and rule-of-law state.

“However, we know that our democracy is still imperfect, and we need to improve it.

“It is therefore urgent to join forces to promote and consolidate our democratic culture.

“It is necessary to endow the electoral system with new technological tools, innovative instruments, and other resources,” said Salif Diallo Silva.

With information from Lusa

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