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Mauritius keen to learn voting machine use from India

January 29, 2010

Mauritius is keen to introduce electronic voting machines to speed up the counting process, says its top election official.

“The counting process is slow. We want to learn from India’s experience in using electronic voting machines (EVMs),” Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius M.I. Abdool Rahman told IANS here.

In the capital for the diamond jubilee celebrations of Election Commission of India (ECI), Rahman said Thursday that his country still used ballot papers in elections.

He saw a presentation by ECI on the advantages of EVMs in terms of cost, simplicity of use, speed and reliability. The last parliamentary elections in India were conducted using EVMs and helped save 8,000 tonnes of paper.

Rahman said that parliamentary elections in Mauritius – a democratic state based on the Westminster model – had seen smooth transition of power.

He said “muscle power” was not used by political parties and “there were regular changes (of government) through the ballot”.

However, he added there were problems of voter impersonation besides difficulties in enforcing ceiling on expenditure of candidates.

“Ceiling on expenditure is difficult to enforce,” he said.

Rahman said that financing of political parties was another issue on which no consensus had yet been reached in his country.

A multi-ethnic country with a sizeable Indian immigrant population, Mauritius has about 825,000 voters. Its literacy rate is 82.9 percent.

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