THE Congress of the People (COP) is set to introduce the country’s first online voting system as the party prepares to hold national executive elections (NATEX) on April 15.
The positions to be contested are: chairman; deputy chairman; secretaries of finance, field operations, education and research, public relations, elections and voter registration and membership and mobilisation. COP office manager Steffan Edwards said the online system was being introduced as the party did not have the necessary manpower to facilitate the traditional type of voting and this system would ensure all its members have the opportunity to participate in the election.
“The physical voting takes a lot of time and resources and manpower which the COP does not have available at this time and in order to bring democracy closer to home and bring the voting closer to people as well we’re utilising an online software called Ballotbin,” Edwards said.
“Essentially it’s going to allow all our members an option to preregister by April 7 by sending in their details and a valid e-mail address. Once they send it to us, it will be entered into the system, (and) Ballotbin will send them a confirmation e-mail advising them that on polling day itself between 9 am and 6 pm, they can log on at any time and cast their ballot. But only people who preregister before April 7 would be entitled to participate in the online mechanism.”
Party members who failed to do so would have to choose between six polling stations throughout the country, Edwards said. Asked how the party would ensure only bonafide members were allowed to vote, he said those members who chose to pre-register would have to visit the COP headquarters, send a confirmation e-mail or telephone to the office to verify their confirmation.
“But we are pushing for people to come in in person, because that is the most secure way of us being able to verify that this person is actually them by presenting their ID card,” he said. The Ballotbin website says the vote is secret and the person or organisation who set up the election cannot see how one votes. Nomination day is March 26. The party has approximately 42,000 members.