Saturday, April 14, 2007

IT for Decision 2007: Information Technology should speed up CEC results

Issue #15 (235), April 13, 2007
By Sara Khojoyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

An automated system to be introduced in Armenia for the first time in the upcoming parliamentary elections will enable the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) to work more effectively and transparently.

Modern technology will make collecting election data a matter of minutes.

The “Elections” system tested at the CEC on April 12 is designed to ensure the automation of the electoral process, including the stages of preparations, organization and holding.

The novelty will enable electoral districts connected to the computer network to transfer to the CEC and receive any information or data in a quick manner.

At present, 28 of the 41 electoral districts are already switched to the network. The remaining 13 will connect to the network before May 12. The system will enable the CEC to monitor online what is happening in the computer of one electoral district or another.

“Elections” has been created through a state budget funding of 78 million drams (about $220,000) and through channels provided by ArmenTel. Software solutions for the project have been made available by the Yerevan Scientific-Research Institute of Mathematical Machines.

“The preparation of the program began still in 2005 when a task was set to create a system for a quick transfer of vote results from electoral districts,” CEC Chairman Garegin Azaryan said.

According to CEC officials, in the previous elections electoral districts waited for protocols to arrive from their respective polling precincts (whose number was 1,923 countrywide).

Thereafter, all protocols were transported to the CEC where the final summary of results was done.

The introduction of the system, according to the CEC members, will provide an opportunity to work at an incomparably faster pace.

At the time of the testing the document required by the CEC arrived at its destination within two minutes.

“The connection between the electoral districts will make it possible to learn about the voting in all regions on an hourly basis,” CEC Computer Department Head Yelena Ayvazyan said.

Due to the new system, as soon as any protocol with result summary arrives at the electoral district from a polling station, results will be entered into a network and simultaneously will appear on the screen installed at the CEC.

Simultaneously, the system will re-summarize the results and will show the dynamics in the change of results.

Additionally, the system will enable television companies and online publication to show live or upload on the website the data immediately as they get them from the CEC.

“If the data coming from electoral districts through the automated ‘Elections’ system are shown on television live, then we won’t have something new to say every three hours, since if we do we will be repeating what a television audience has already seen due to this system,” Azaryan said.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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