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Majlis Favors E-Voting for City Council Polls

Majlis Favors E-Voting for City Council PollsMajlis Favors E-Voting for City Council Polls

The parliament is ready to hold next year's city council polls electronically, a senior lawmaker said, in another attempt to replace old-school ballot boxes with voting machines in Iranian elections.

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

"We hold a meeting with Interior Ministry officials next week to determine how [the 2017 city council votes] will be conducted," Mohammad Javad Kolivand, chairman of Majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission, told ICANA on Tuesday.

The ministry is the organizer of the elections and a special board of Majlis lawmakers is tasked with screening the qualifications of hopefuls and overseeing the polls.

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

In recent years, election officials have several times attempted to conduct voting electronically, but security concerns, among other issues, have been a major obstacle.

The latest was this year's parliamentary elections, two rounds of which were held in February and April, which were due to be conducted electronically at one-third of polling stations across the country.

In January, the Guardians Council rejected the plan, citing "security and legal problems".

This week, the council's spokesman, Gholamali Kadkhodaei, said the body had sent a letter regarding e-voting to the Interior Ministry and was waiting for a reply.

"We have asked them to consider security interests, election's soundness and a user-friendly voting mechanism," he said.

Kolivand said the council has a favorable view of electronic elections, if its valid concerns are addressed.

"The Interior Ministry should work harder to settle complaints regarding software and hardware of voting machines," he said.

The ministry's officials have expressed hope the 2017 presidential election would be held electronically.

They are also working on a comprehensive election bill, aimed at clarifying the financing of election campaigns and handling of candidates' violations.

According to the bill, the ministry will provide candidates with financial assistance for conducting election campaigns.

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

The hopefuls of city council elections will have one week to sign up from March 20 to 26 and their campaigning period is May 11-17.

 

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