Sony, Samsung propose electronic voter database

Knesset central elections c'tee working on computerizing system for recognizing voters at polling stations ahead of next election.

elections voting cards 248.88 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
elections voting cards 248.88 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
International technological conglomerates such as Sony and Samsung have pitched proposals to the central elections committee for computerizing Israel’s voter database, Knesset officials said Tuesday.
The officials confirmed a report by Yediot Aharonot Knesset correspondent Tzvika Brot that the central elections committee was working on computerizing the system for recognizing voters at polling stations ahead of the next election.
Building an electronic database is seen as the first step toward eventually replacing the current voting system of placing pieces of paper with party codes in envelopes and inserting the envelopes in ballot boxes.
Currently, when Israeli voters arrive at polling stations, they present their identification. Polling attendants then find their name on a paper list, which does not include pictures, and they ask the voter to sign by their name.
According to the new system, all the eligible voters and their pictures would be on a computerized tablet.
The voters would sign the tablet the same way they sign paperless electronic receipts at McDonalds.
The major benefits of computerizing the system would be to shorten lines at polling stations, prevent voter fraud by having pictures of voters available at the stations and that the new system would enable voting at any polling station in the country. Election committee officials said they hoped it would boost voter turnout, because students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba would not have to return home to Kiryat Shmona in order to vote.
The system could also end the practice of soldiers, prisoners and ambassadors voting in double-envelopes that are only opened after election day.
Knesset officials said it was not clear whether the new system could be available in time for the next election, which is set for October 22, 2013, but could be advanced at any point. If the system is used in the next election, it is possible that full computerized voting could be available in the election after that.
Once there is full computerized voting, it would make it easier to implement the so-called Omri Casspi Bill, which would enable some Israelis temporarily abroad to be able to vote, including the Cleveland Cavaliers small forward who is the first Israeli in the NBA.
The bill is waiting for a coalition committee on election committee led by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to issue its findings before it is advanced.