Belarusian programmers have created a platform for protection against falsifications on elections, to which have joined about 500 thousand people. How it works and what they think about the Belarusians?
Programmers in Belarus have come up with a way to protect the voters for the upcoming presidential elections on 9 August. They offer Belarusians to register on the online platform “the Voice” and send a picture of his ballot in a program that will process all the votes and publish the results of the alternative elections. A couple of days on the platform has already signed up nearly half a million people. How does the platform “Voice” and the ability of the technology to prevent fraud in the presidential elections?
IT-technologies for fair elections
The project “the Voice” was the product of a social hackathon Hackathon Social Technology 2020, which developed solutions for preventing possible falsifications on elections of the President of Belarus. The organizers of the hackathon was organized by the headquarters to prevent the election of candidates Valery Tsepkalo and Victor Babariko, as well as the initiative “Honest people”, which stands for fair elections in Belarus.
The principle of operation of the project “the Voice” is pretty simple: the voters on the mobile phone number registered on the platform through chat-bots, messengers Viber and Telegram, indicating who plan to vote. In the days of early voting, August 9, and after the election, voters can send a photo of your newsletter to the chat-bot. All submitted photos will remain in the system, which then calculates results for each site – alternative final figures will be published after the official election results.
As stated on the website of the project “the Voice” does not replace the vote and is not agitprop, voters report their own choice. Legal force published data have not. The aim of the project is to ensure transparency of the election without breaking the law. The creators of the platform not campaigning for any of the candidates, or even voter turnout to the polling stations.
In addition, the creators indicate that the platform is an absolute legal. “We are not asking for your passport data, only a phone number and a photo of the Bulletin. We encrypt the data. Secrecy of ballot is not violated,” – said on the website of the platform “Voice”.
“The voice” expects to receive 4 million votes
The representative of the initiative “Honest people” Alexander Khomich told DW that the project aims to show the real results of the elections in which the people will believe: “this year we have transparent elections in the election Commission members and observers were only Pro-government people. Therefore, a significant majority already feels that they stole the vote. On our platform we take into account any votes, including for the current government.”
A couple of days on the platform has registered about half a million Belarusians. However, according to the Central election Commission in Belarus is now about 6.8 million voters, and therefore the platform is just over 7 percent. “This year, the interest choice is very high, so we expect to get 3.5-4 million votes,” says Homich. According to him, nearly 500 thousand registration is a good result to start.
One of the half a million registered on the platform – software engineer Victoria Loshkovskim. She believes that the idea of using IT-technologies against fraud has long hovered in the air and not only in Belarus. “I believe that the platform will help to display the actual result of the election and not rigged, but will this affect the outcome of the elections – it’s hard to believe”. She also helped to register on the platform their parents.
The project “the Voice” joined the economist Natalia Pankova and hoped that with the platform it will be possible to trace and to verify the counting of votes by election commissions. “I want to believe that something will change for the better, but I see that a legal challenge to the decisions of the CEC, such as lawyers Victor Babariko, leads to nothing,” says the woman.
The pros and cons of “the Voice”
Blogger and IT expert Sergey Lavrinenko refers to the project rather skeptical, though, and indicates that such ideas are needed now, because the platform’s great showing people what the tools of e-democracy. “Two problematic aspect is the objectivity and coverage. Until we see that the number of registrations ran into a number of active people who were signed to the streets for alternative candidates. There is a time and identification using phone – people can be two SIM-cards”. Also, according to Lavrinenko, there is the question of security of user data as the base of “the Voice” is a list not very loyal to the government of the people.
According to the organizer Alexander Khomich, the platform sewn several degrees of protection against possible “cheating” and fraud. “It was one of the main issues which questioned the feasibility of implementing platform. But we all made up and ready for different scenarios. Read more do not speak, because of security reasons” – the representative of the initiative “Honest people”.
The head of the platform also says that even if we collect votes electoral majority will not work, the platform expects that in any case it will be a representative sample, which will show the real interest that scored each of the candidates.
On the question of what activists are going to do in the event of a discrepancy between the official data of the CEC of Belarus and data platform, Khomich says that “the Voice” is a tool of counting: “Our data will be published regardless of whether they match with the official. What to do with it – everyone decides for himself”.