When will voting become as convenient as online shopping?

Madeira President calls for digitalization of voting

Madeira President calls for digitalization of voting

Portugal is about to hold its parliamentary elections on 30 January

Portugal is gearing up to hold its legislative elections on 30 January but at a recent interview given on 13 January, the President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, expressed incredulity that the authorities have not implemented electronic voting and will instead have it the old-fashioned traditional way with ballots.

In his opinion, it is odd that given the current pandemic situation and overall drive towards digital transformation people still have to line up and cast paper votes.

Elections, for now, are not going the digital transformation route

Miguel Albuquerque is an advocate of electronic voting, stressing that the ritual of in-person voting is not admissible these days. Speaking on the sidelines of a visit he made to a real estate company in Funchal (the capital of the autonomous region of Madeira), he admitted to being concerned about the issue of isolating positive cases and close contacts, which can greatly increase abstention in elections.

In the good Portuguese tradition, everything will be decided at the last minute…. They are listening to the constitutionalists, the pseudo-constitutionalists, in short, all that paraphernalia of people who issue opinions in the country…But nothing moves forward!”, he criticized the national government’s reluctance to implement online voting.

The official said that the society is still waiting for a decision to be taken on which procedures have to be taken, in the sense that, while ensuring the safeguarding of public health, people could also fully exercise their right to vote.

A country that is always bragging about the digital transition should have resolved this situation by now. It makes no sense for us to continue to do the act of voting as it was in the 19th century,” he continued.

According to Miguel Albuquerque, “people could and should vote today from their homes”. Adding to his reasoning: “Today, almost everyone has access to digital instruments, to computers. Why not vote digitally? What is the problem? Why do we have to maintain a ritual that is not of today?”.

In the Madeiran leader’s opinion “we have to evolve and take advantage of the potential that exists in this area in order to make life easier for people.”

Nevertheless, in the summer of last year, news came out that the Portugal authorities are planning to implement electronic voting, however, this would only apply to Portuguese citizens living abroad. A pilot test will be carried out this year, with the expected measure to be fully implemented in 2023, according to The Portuguese American Journal.



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