EghtesadOnline: The Interior Ministry is seeking the approval of the Guardians Council to use electronic voting machines in parliamentary elections, said a lawmaker, who believes that using an electronic system could positively impact voting accuracy.
"Except for the processes of counting the votes and announcing the results, all other election procedures such as registration and vetting of candidates as well as registration and investigation of complaints are conducted electronically," Mohammad Javad Kolivand also told IRNA in a recent interview.
“The use of electronic machines for the first two processes has to be approved by the Guardians Council for parliamentary, presidential and the Assembly of Experts elections.”
Citizens of Tehran went to the polls on July 26 to elect assistants to the Islamic City Council of the metropolis in the first fully electronic voting in the country's history, which could herald a new chapter in Iranian elections, Financial Tribune reported.
According to IRNA, 7,000 fully electronic ballot boxes were used in 1,700 polling stations and over 500,000 people cast their ballots using the e-voting machines, which helped the organizers announce the initial results soon after the election.
"The use of new systems has been envisioned in the legislation and the Guardians Council can use new systems," Kolivand, chairman of Majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission, explained.
The Interior Ministry is making efforts to get the approval of the Guardians Council, he stressed.
"The Guardians Council has a positive view of electronic voting, but the servers, software and hardware have to be approved."
Presidential, parliamentary and the Assembly of Experts elections are overseen by the Guardians Council, while the organizer of all Iranian elections is the Interior Ministry.
The parliamentarian said election security is really important to the Guardians Council and that is why all the equipment bought by the Interior Ministry as well as software and servers have to be approved by this vetting body.
"If a green light is given to hold elections electronically, parliamentary elections will be held using e-voting machines," he added.
Kolivand, like many experts, believes that the introduction of electronic voting has many advantages.
"It can help shorten the voting period and increase voting accuracy. In addition, results could be announced more quickly and complaints could be handled faster, if parliamentary elections are held electronically," he said.
Kolivand said e-voting has been partially implemented in previous rounds of parliamentary and city council elections.
“The Interior Ministry and the Guardians Council have been studying the issue and conducting tests over the past four years and are continuing their deliberations,” he said.
The next round of parliamentary elections will be held in February 2020, in which candidates will compete for 290 seats.