02 December 2022

  • Anti-voting machine sentiment has been running high in both the US and Brazil recently – but on Thursday evening in Sofia, it was pro-voting machine protestors who took to the streets. Hundreds of Bulgarians braved the winter weather to voice their opposition to the reintroduction of paper ballots. In May 2021, the use of voting machines was made compulsory in an effort to combat corruption and an unusually high number of invalid ballots. Prior to the protest, former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov warned Bulgarians of the effects of a return to paper ballots: “Today is the day when the democratic vote of every Bulgarian citizen will be substituted, the day when we open the door to 15% invalid ballots, when the distortion of the vote makes the whole system work corruptly.”
  • In Hungary, Viktor Orbán’s party Fidesz has been accused of misusing data collected via government websites for the purposes of political campaigning. According to a report issued by Human Rights Watch, data gathered during registration for government services, including Covid-19 vaccinations, was used by the party’s data-driven campaign. The report finds that “Such use and exploitation of data helped to undermine privacy, and the right of Hungarians to participate in democratic elections, which relies on political parties having equality of opportunity to compete for voters’ support.”

  • The Elections Department in Maricopa County, Arizona, has issued a report on a glitch which affected voting machines during polling on November 8 during midterm elections. The glitch was the result of a simple printing error – and contrary to the conspiracy theories, no votes were lost from the final count. Also in Arizona, a federal judge yesterday called for sanctions against Trump-endorsed Republican candidates Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, who launched a bid to block the use of voting machines in both the Maricopa and Pima counties of the state back in May 2022. The judge wrote that their legal case was based on “false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process.”

  • Finally: We are proud to announce a new award for outstanding work in the field of Democracy Technologies, administered by the Innovation in Politics Institute. Since 2017, the Innovation in Politics Awards have recognised creative politicians from across Europe who have the courage to break new ground. We are currently accepting submissions and nominations for the 2023 Innovation in Politics Award in the brand-new “Democracy Technologies” category. The award honours political work which uses cutting-edge digital tools to foster new forms of participation, deliberation, and collective intelligence. Submit your project here.

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