The uses of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in recent times have become inevitable and fundamental to operations and activities of organizations and societies. In order to incorporate ICT into the electoral system, A-WEB has been organizing “Specialized Training Program on ICT in Elections” to strengthen electoral transparency, security, and efficiency worldwide by exchanging experience and expertise among EMBs.
The Specialized Training Program on ICT-based Election Management for African countries was run from September 9th to 19th at the A-WEB secretariat, Republic of Korea. 16 policy-making authorities and 17 engineers of ICT-related electoral officials from Benin, The Gambia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania were selected to participate in the specialized training program.
On the first day, each representative of the EMBs presented their election management systems during the EMB Report Presentation session. The presenters conveyed the knowledge and the experience of election management system using ICT. It was a great opportunity to overview the current status of elections in African countries and to share information among countries.
The Specialized Training Program consisted of comprehensive and in-depth special lectures, offering experts from a deeper knowledge of elections using ICT and cyber security. First of all, the professor at Ghent University, Regis Dandoy, delivered a lecture on “Status and future of E-voting.” The participants actively joined in discussions and expressed their opinions freely during the lecture.
Gwang-il Park, deputy director of National Election Commission(NEC) of Korea, gave a talk on “Election ICT and Management System in Korea” and demonstrated the ICT equipment and materials used in the electoral process of Korea. The participants had hands-on experience of ICT-based voter registration, voting, and counting process in Korea.
Application of online election system using blockchain technology is currently discussed intensively. Seng-Phil Hong, professor of Sungshin Women’s University, delivered the lecture on the concept of blockchain technology used in various types of elections and the potential of this new voting mechanism.
A common challenge for IT security experts is the need to build systems that are trustworthy and easily understandable for voters at the same time. To strengthen the role of ICT-related engineers in election commissions, director of the education department of Trinity Software, Chunyong Park, was invited to provide in-depth study and actual practice of information, physical, and technical security.
On the culture tour day, the participants visited National Museum of Korean Contemporary History to explore the electoral history of elections in Korea. They also went to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the most inspiring place to observe traditional Korean architectures, gardens, and pagodas.
The participants visited Samsung Innovation Museum and learned about the history of Korea’s electronics industry, as well as the past, present, and future of technology and innovation.
The journey toward the electoral transparency, security, and efficiency came to an end with farewell remarks and certification delivered by the director general of A-WEB, Gibyong Kim. Throughout the specialized training program, A-WEB ensures the participants learn the latest trends, challenges and developments in election management and exchange of experience and expertise. Most of all, the participants can gain confidence for the incorporation of ICT into the electoral process to foster credible elections.
(* Click the link below for more program pictures.)