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IDIA2014 Conference
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
3-4 November 2014

Designing, developing and testing a mobile phone voting system in the South African context

Noluntu Mpekoa
Department of Information Technology Faculty of Engineering
Central University of Technology Free State
South Africa

Full paper

Abstract

Voting is a critical feature of any democratic process and is a vital expression of the people's power. For centuries, South Africa has been using the popular paper-based voting system though it does not provide the desirable blend of accessibility and efficiency. Missing ballot papers, invalid votes and miscount are some of the challenges associated with the paper-based voting system. Numerous electronic voting technologies have been proposed and presented by researchers that provide an easily accessible and efficient voting mechanism. Electronic voting has been attracting a lot of attention and research for the past few years, for it has some remarkable advantages over traditional paper-based voting. Mobile voting which is a subset of electronic voting, is continuously gaining popularity because it creates an efficient, effective, error free and time saving voting platform. Mobile phone voting has the capability to augment the participation rate and the quality of voting. This research contributes to the voting system reform by designing and developing a mobile phone voting framework and an application. The mobile phone voting application facilitates users to spontaneously and timeously vote using existing mobile phone networks and technologies. We developed the application in C# using Visual studio 2010 and the database was created using MySQL Server 2008. The case study was conducted at a private organisation with 124 participants to enhance the voting processes for the election of the Union president. Data about the system were collected from the participants using a self-completion questionnaire, which showed 88% of participants saying it is easy to use, 92% of participants saying it is easy to learn. The mobile voting application proved its suitability, accessibility, efficiency and feasibility.

Key words

M-Voting, mobile phones, democracy, voters