The 2020 US Presidential Election:
What Africa can learn from past government department errors in information sharing.
As news emerged that the votes of several people who had passed away were included in the US election count, this led to accusations of voter fraud by the losing political party and most importantly, created mistrust of the electoral process for some citizens.
Posted on 1 December 2020 at 08:37am
Technology improves efficiency in the election process.
In one of the most discussed, debated and divisive US Presidential Elections in history, the world has been a witness to an assortment of suspense, elation, disappointment, unveiled accusations, and outright insults. So what makes this election so different from previous US elections?
Technology and Government
Its essential for any democratic country that the electoral process be efficient, open, transparent and most of all, trusted by all parties.
To get citizens to trust their government, they must first get them to trust the technology government uses, and also get them to understand how that government technology works.
Vote counting technology is still in its infancy, so as that technology is used more often in the electoral process within many countries, new challenges and deficiencies will come to light that need to be addressed.
The perception of voter fraud when governments departments dont share information
On the 12th November 2020, TV Station WXYZ News of Detroit Michigan USA reported several occurrences during the 2020 US Presidential Election, where people who had already died were included in the electoral process, and mistakenly had their votes included in the count.
This occurred where citizens had cast Postal Votes well in advance of the election, but subsequently died before the actual election date. As a result, the vote counting department software was unaware of the citizens deaths, thus including their votes in the final tally.
Without a person first understanding the reason for this error, it is understandable why some citizens may have misconstrued such events as deliberate voter fraud.
This then opens the door for all types of accusations of foul play by citizens and political parties. However, this error could have easily been averted had the government departments software systems communicated with each other.
Department information sharing reduces the risk of human error.
Government department integration reduces the risk of human error
The solution to averting these types of errors does not lie just in the use of technology, but in the application of smarter integrated technologies which allow information sharing between government departments.
In the case of the 2020 US Elections, this would have required real-time sharing of information between the Ambulance and Emergency Services, Hospitals, The Department of Health, Births and Deaths Registration Department, and The Electoral Registration Department.
Instead of simply relying on a government employee to remember to remove the the names of recently deceased voters from the electoral register, an integrated software system would have done this instantly, automatically and seamlessly, without the need for human intervention or the opportunity for human error.
Every government in Africa can benefit from department information sharing
Information sharing does not only apply during elections. It is essential for the efficient operation of all Government Ministries, including The Treasury, Agriculture, Defence, Trade, Labour, Education and Health.
When data is shared between government departments, this contributes to the prevention of fraud, improves the nations safety and security, enhances government efficiency, and builds trust between government and its citizens.
CFTA Software is the Africa Diaspora technology company which designs and develops Advanced Integrated Software Systems to the specification of AfCFTA governments in Africa. The technologies we work with are already commonly used within the commercial sector by some of the worlds leading corporations, and by many governments in the Americas, Asia and Europe.
CFTA Software is an Africa Diaspora EGov software company made up of European based Engineers of African descent.
We specialise in the design and development of Integrated E-Government and E-Governance software systems to Western standards, for governments in the AfCFTA region.
Our pricing is in line with African Digital Infrastructure budgets, and we accept full or partial payments in your Local currency for software development projects.
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