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Electronic Voting Machines Pass Security Tests

Homayoun HashemiHomayoun Hashemi

Domestically-designed machines built to replace ballot boxes in the upcoming city council elections have been successfully tested, removing doubts over the implementation of electronic voting in Iranian elections. Abolfazl Aboutorabi, a member of Majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission, made the announcement in a talk with ICANA on Saturday.

The elections will be held on May 19, concurrent with the presidential polls. 

A special parliamentary board, comprising three members of Majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission and two from Majlis Article 90 Commission, is tasked with vetting candidates and overseeing the city council elections.

The board had previously announced that it plans to employ voting machines in one-sixth of the polling stations across the country, numbering 11,000, to cover one-third of eligible voters.

Registration for the city council votes in over 1,200 cities and 39,000 villages will take one week from March 13 to 19 and the campaigning period for city council hopefuls is May 11-17.

The presidential, Majlis and Experts Assembly votes are overseen by the Guardians Council, while the organizer of all Iranian elections is the Interior Ministry. 

Members of the Interior Ministry's Election Headquarters convened for the first time early this month to discuss preparations for the upcoming votes.

Guardians Council has also established the Election Oversight Board for presidential polls. With less than four months left to presidential election, the ministry is still negotiating with the council to obtain its approval for e-polling.

Homayoun Hashemi, another lawmaker, expressed hope on Sunday that the ministry will reach an agreement for holding the presidential elections electronically, at least in major cities.

The parliamentarian said e-polling is useful in facilitating election oversight, as well as accelerating the election procedures and increasing their transparency.

"It can also considerably reduce costs. Many irregularities occurring in paper elections will be eliminated in electronic elections," he said. Security concerns prevented e-voting in this year's Majlis elections.

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