The Central Election Commission (CEC BiH) is considering the possibility to introduce scanners in the next general elections in BiH, in such a way that their implementation does not require an amendment to the Election Law, in case the parliament will not be able to adopt amendments to this law.
CEC BiH is considering the possibility to introduce scanners in the next general elections in BiH, in such a way that their implementation does not require an amendment to the Election Law, in case the parliament will not be able to adopt amendments to this law.
Namely, the issue to amend the electoral legislation has become a sensitive political issue not only because of the possibility to improve the electoral process, which obviously does not suit all political entities, but also because of politically sensitive decisions, such as the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights decision in Sejdic and Finci case”.
Council of Europe organized an event last weekend in Neum where five members of the CEC BiH discussed with a group of thirty journalists various aspects of the election process, including the introduction of a scanner for voter identification, but also a scanner for scanning ballots in such a way that these changes do not require a change in electoral legislation.
While all CEC BiH members may agree that it would be possible to introduce some kind of scanners, such as fingerprint scanners for easier and more credible voter identification, some members, such as Suad Arnautović, go a step further and believe that there is a way to introduce ballot scanners in the next elections in such a way that it is not necessary to change the Election Law. He explained to the journalists that scanners could be applied in two ways, one of which would not require a change in the Election Law. According to his interpretation, if scanners were connected to the network as an extra resource, after the completion of the election process, while the rest of the election process would be identical to the current one, an amendment to the Election Law would not be necessary.
Zeljko Bakalar, the president of the CEC BiH, told for “Nezavisne novine” that different types of scanners represent one of options that the CEC BiH is considering to be introduced in the next general elections in October next year. According to Mr. Bakalar’s opinion, it would be possible to introduce fingerprint scanners and other technical solutions to transfer election results to the CEC’s central server without amending the law, provided that the Council of Ministers and Parliament approve 10 million in the next CEC BiH budget in order for these technical solutions to be implemented. He explained that it would include the procurement of at least one laptop at each polling station as well as solutions via the Internet so that these laptops could be securely connected to the CEC BiH server.
“Our teams are working on a project task to introduce some of these solutions in case there is no change to the Election Law,” he said, explaining that fingerprint scanners, i.e., technical solutions for biometric reading of voters’ fingerprints in cooperation with the Agency for Identification Documents of BiH, would prevent manipulations that received much attention in public after the last local elections, such as theft of identity.
Regarding the scanners for reading ballots, Bakalar explained that there are different scanners and different methods of their use, and noted that in cooperation with the EU, there are plans to organize demonstration of elections with different solutions to members of legislative authority, which should then be decided by the state.
“However, the situation would be much more clear if some changes were included in the changes to the Election Law,” Bakalar said.
Esad Mavrić, a representative of the Council of Europe and organizer of the seminar, said that journalists were able to hear, from CEC BiH representatives, information that would help them to be more competent and informed about various aspects of the election process.
“One of the more interesting topics for journalists related to the possibility to improve the election process through technical solutions,” Mavric told for “Nezavisne novine”.