Majlis Eyes Electronic City Council Votes

Majlis Eyes Electronic City Council VotesMajlis Eyes Electronic City Council Votes

A lawmaker said the parliament seeks to hold the next city council elections using voting machines.

Qasem Mirzaei-Nekou made the statement in an interview with ICANA on Saturday.

The lawmaker said if the e-polling was not possible across all the 31 provinces, the Majlis would use voting machines at least in Tehran Province as a pilot project.

The council polls are scheduled for May 19, 2017, concurrent with the presidential election.

The organizer of the elections is the Interior Ministry, but the hopefuls for councils are vetted by a special board of Majlis lawmakers, which will also oversees the elections.

This is while for the presidential, parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections, the Guardians Council is in charge of vetting candidates and supervising elections.

Asked about the electronic administration of the presidential vote, Mirzaei-Nekou was not optimistic that the Guardians Council will agree.

“I think the Guardians Council will once again oppose e-polling,” he said, adding that the pilot implementation of the plan is possible.

The recent parliamentary elections, two rounds of which were held in February and April, were due to be conducted electronically at one-third of polling stations in nine cities, but legal and security problems prevented it.

In January, the Guardians Council announced the plan has been canceled, because the parliament failed to prepare the legal framework and there were also security concerns about the electronic machines.

Last Month, Deputy Interior Minister for Political Affairs Mohammad Hossein Moqimi said the ministry is in touch with the Guardians Council to remove obstacles to electronic elections.

“Our experts and GC representatives are now checking the software for the voting machines,” he said. “Its problems are now solved and I think we are close to what the council wants.”

Moqimi said since the Majlis has resolved the legal issues, he hopes that the upcoming presidential election would be held electronically.

E-voting helps minimize the possibility of irregularities, trim costs and reduce the time needed to count the ballots from several days to half a day.