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Automation of electoral processes - an important factor in the legitimacy of power and democracy

Automation of electoral processes - an important factor in the legitimacy of power and democracy

Ukraine - a country emerging democracy. Emerging today, before our eyes. Every election in Ukraine are the cornerstone of its subsequent history. The nation is looking for itself, experimenting with different variants of political elites, technology selection and control. One of the most important and accessible to every person of influence on power tools are elections. From that, how much quality and honestly they will largely depend on the legitimacy of the entire state apparatus, the degree of political tension, and the vector of the development of society as a whole.

 
Modern civilization develops through total dependence on computer technology. Are no exception and the electoral process. The schedule of elections is becoming tougher and tougher. If 10 years ago to prepare for the elections was given for 3 months, but recently - no more than two. And more and more talk about the need to reduce this period to 45 days. Electoral processes consists of a large number of steps and individual processes, which number more than 20, with complex dependencies between them and often with well-defined time frame. Some procedures, such as registration of candidates, come to an end by a certain date, and such as the formation and change in the composition of election commissions, continues without interruption, although their initial creation as clearly defined in time.
In this case, the rigidity of deadlines in the project «Election» - maximum: You can move the start spaceship, but you can’t change the date of the elections. Yes, and the counting of votes necessary to carry out as quickly as possible - the country is looking forward to his new (or old) top managers, a new alignment of political solitaire. In my subjective opinion based on ten years of participation in the elections in those committees where the results have not been published within a day after the polls closed - with high probability take place or falsification, or attempts to disrupt the vote count.
 
Obviously, the huge amount of work in such a limited terms is principally impossible without the use of computer technology. For example, the same members of precinct election commissions, information support to lead, not only in terms of their participation in committees and positions in them, but also in terms of financial and personnel records, with constant rotation lock - about 500,000 in the country.
 
More or less adequate information systems began to appear in the Ukrainian elections since the early 2000s. In 2004, this system has covered all the main stages of the electoral process at the level of the CEC and district commissions. In its present form - a system with a centralized Web-oriented architecture - Unified Information-analytical system «Elections» was created in 2012 and 2014 under the Elections of People’s Deputies and President respectively. By the way, it should be noted that it is the presence of modern architecture, as well as the established system deployment and support made it possible to hold presidential elections in May 2014 in such a short time, in a serious organizational chaos in the country.
 
By the establishment and operation of the system involved in tens and hundreds of people. In this case, the main core of the project team has more than 10 years of experience in automation is the electoral processes.
 
General contractor to build UIAS «Election» is Medirent company performed not only organizational and coordination function, but also the development of a larger piece of software systems, providing technical support for two hundred electoral commissions.
 
The major contractors – the «Infosafe IT» company (complex data protection, telecommunications and infrastructure solutions) and «Prokom» (CEC function level).
 
Deployment and operation of such an important country for the system is held with the active participation of the Security Service of Ukraine and State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine. This is particularly important in the context of unprecedented intensity on cyber war, which unleashed the enemies of Ukraine, its course towards democracy and European values. As the experience of the last election, a joint team of developers, CEC staff, security services and Internet service providers manage to resist the unprecedented level of attacks on UIAS «Elections», which the enemy reasonably believes one of the most important factors in a democratic, transparent expression. And that means - and the guarantor of the legitimacy of the newly elected government.
 
UIAS «Election» has about 30 functional units, covering most of the electoral tasks, such as the definition of borders districts and areas, the registration of candidates, parties, official observers, representatives, agents, media, management personnel of the district and precinct election commissions, control of election funds, accounting election documentation, accounting and analysis of expenditure, the presentation (in the press center of the CEC), etc. However, the most important task of the system is operational, it is operational to inform the public about the voting and counting of votes. The relevant information is entered into the system operators of district election commissions, goes through several stages of control, protection, transmission, and ultimately appears on the CEC website. On the dynamics of change in the election results conclusions about the adequacy of what is happening in the elections. Too fast or slow vote count, large deviations from the results of exit polls, abnormal appearance or its distribution in time and many other parameters are the object of attention of analysts and the whole society. And these problems are the subject of the main attack by hackers.
 
Information system of electoral processes is an integral part of e-government, the most important element of e-democracy. Ukraine, as one of the world leaders in software development, the course towards the development of e-government as a tool for improvement of effectiveness of the state machine and the fight against corruption. In this context, it is important that our electoral information technology not only adequate to their tasks, implemented in modern architecture, but also can develop in completely rational scenario where the software and hardware platform and a set of information security used for further construction of the necessary blocks tasks.
 
Such a high priority, according to analysts the Medirent company at the moment are:

 

  • Integrated automation and centralized local elections (by analogy with the election of the President and deputies).
  • The pilot project of electronic elections as an effective tool for combating fraud (in this case, we understand that such a project could be sanctioned and supported only by the authority, which is not in word but in deed interested in fair elections and the development of democratic institutions in Ukraine).
  • The inclusion of the CEC on electoral processes in the so-called «open data» (open data), freely published on a specialized state resources in the form of ready for re-use data sets (data sets).
  • A further increase in the level of protection of information in UIAS «Elections».
  • Consuming, but important task - the creation of a permanent regional infrastructure for automation of elections, both local and national.

 

The aim of this development is to maintain a high technological level of electoral processes, standards of democracy at the level of the best world standards.
 
Now Ukraine has a great chance to civilization. It almost did not need to look back and to bear the burden of previous decisions. Today the situation is difficult for the present, but a benefits for the future. Ukraine is needed to safely and effectively use it.
 
 
Alexey Bondarchuk
Deputy Director, Director of Project Department