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There are a couple of things that jump out at me every time I have the opportunity to look at the voters list, but in particular, the format in which it is distributed makes me wonder about certain things.
The voter’s list is sent out from the electoral office as a Microsoft word document; a document that is editable. If this is the same document that is sent out and used as the official document on Election Day, I think it leaves a lot of room for compromise and this practice needs to be reconsidered to ensure that the election process is protected at all cost and at all levels. As stated, this is just another document — the distributed list — that can be modified. Names can be added and/or removed by anyone with the required knowledge. My suggestion to the Electoral Office is to have a printed edition of the list produced and published just for the election, so as to reduce the possibility of compromise. Granted, producing several hundred printed copies of this document may be costly, but one cannot and should not attempt to put a price on our democracy, and the process by which it is maintained. There are about 225 polling stations. Assuming at least three copies per station, we’re looking at about 675 copies, give or take. At four copies per polling station, we’re still under 1,000 copies total.
If the electronic system is not secure enough, which it doesn’t appear to be, we ought to consider other means by which the integrity of the voting process can be upheld. I think it is still okay to distribute electronic copies of the voters list to the different parties, solely for use in preliminary checks and analysis prior to the election, but that should be as far as it goes. In fact, I would venture to say that it needs to be distributed in an electronic format, so as to make the analytical process easier. However, distributing the list in this format (Microsoft Word), for official use at polling stations on Election Day is a cause for concern, at least in my mind.
If we do not have a more secure electronic means by which the list can be accessed and distributed, then I am proposing a published hard copy to be the only document that is used on Election Day. Accomplishing this may mean changes in certain things. For instance, I would suspect that we would need to change or implement a cutoff date for registration so as to allow enough time for the production and publishing of the voters list document. We may also wish to consider having a sign off, so that the necessary parties all agree to the final list before it is produced and published. For what it’s worth, it ought to be considered. The bottom line is we need to use the means that we have available to make this process as secured as possible.
Again, I am saying that IF the list that I have seen in the Microsoft Word format is the same one that is distributed in that manner for official use on election day, then I am suggesting that it be changed; so as to reduce the possibilities of compromise, considering that the Word document can be modified after it has left the boundary of the electoral office. The system should ensure that everyone working at a polling station has the same unmodifiable official document that is issued by the electoral office.
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