The Introduction of Internet Voting in Armenia: A Solution or a Problem?

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YEREVAN, Armenia – The seminar hosted by the Political Science and International Affairs program on February 16th was led by Hamazasp Danielyan, an assistant professor at  Yerevan State University, presented the results of a study evaluating the existing internet voting  regulations and implementations in Armenia. The topics of discussion specifically concentrated  on three main aspects: the presentation of the problem for which internet voting was introduced  as a solution by allowing certain categories of voters to cast their ballot while residing abroad;  the description of the main features of the adopted internet voting system and their  shortcomings; and the impact of this innovation on voting behavior and practices. The study was  based on the analysis of legal regulations and interviews with individuals who had the right to  participate in internet voting.

The studies coincide with the electoral reforms that seem to largely rely on the utilization of  electronic means. Despite the fact that the draft text on the reforms has yet to be published, its  authors are assuming that the introduction of certain electronic components into the voting  system in Armenia will solve most of the existing problems and guarantee free and fair  elections. However, as proven by both international and Armenian experiences, electronic  voting cannot be considered a panacea and can only solve very narrow issues at best. Most of  the time, the introduction of certain electronic components in the voting system brings on new  problems and difficulties, as has been the case with the introduction of internet voting in  Armenia after 2011.  

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Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university  located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides US- style education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate  studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.

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