The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Mr. Norbert Mao, has announced the government’s intention to introduce compulsory electronic voting in the 2026 General Elections. This move is aimed at ensuring fair and transparent elections.
Mr. Mao, who is also the president general of the Democratic Party, addressed the media in Kampala, explaining that the proposal for electronic voting is a significant and innovative step in a democratic country like Uganda. President Museveni supports this idea and encourages Ugandans to embrace it as a means to combat vote manipulation.
Electronic voting will involve using various biometric methods, such as fingerprints, eyelids, and facial recognition, in addition to voter locator slips with barcodes. When voters arrive at the polling station, they will use their voter slips to confirm their identity. This system aims to prevent unauthorized use of voter locator slips and eliminate the practice of vote stuffing and fake polling stations.
Mr. Mao emphasized that electronic voting will also enable the auditing of election results, addressing the demands from many political parties for election result audits. The machines used for electronic voting will store information about who has reported for voting.
The proposed electronic voting system will come with legal consequences. Presiding officers who declare more votes than the number of ballot papers issued to them will face criminal charges and potential imprisonment.
Mr. Paul Bukenya, the Electoral Commission Spokesperson, welcomed the proposal, stating that it aligns with the need for reforms to promote participation and transparency in elections. He emphasized that this is the opportune time to discuss and enact the necessary laws to implement these reforms.
During the same press conference, Mr. Mao urged all political parties to collaborate in a three-phase transition process as they discuss political change in Uganda. The phases include building consensus, forming a united government, and creating a consultative mechanism.
Electronic voting, also known as e-voting, is a computer-mediated voting system where voters make their selections using a computer. It often involves touch-screen displays and can include audio interfaces for voters with visual impairments. The process includes ballot composition, casting, recording, and tabulation. Several countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and the Philippines, have already adopted e-voting in their elections.