Elections are moving from paper to a digital process

December 22 will be the election for deputies to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis and regional, district and city Kengashes of people's deputies. To increase the political activity of voters, in particular the younger generation, Uzbekistan continues the month of propaganda of electoral legislation. As part of the events from October 20 to November 20, which take place in educational institutions, makhallas and labor collectives, they inform about the adopted new regulatory documents, innovations in the system, the role and significance of everyone's participation in the elections.

This year, an important political and social event takes place in a new format. Thus, the use of an electronic system in the election process will not only improve the work, but will also help ensure transparency and openness.

About changes in the election process, preparations for the elections - an interview with the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Honored Lawyer of the country Mirzo-Ulugbek ABDUSALOMOV.

- Mirzo-Ulugbek Elchievich, the motto for this year’s election campaign is “New Uzbekistan - New Elections!” What is the qualitative difference between the significant political and social process this year?

- Elections are an integral attribute, part of a democratic state of law and a strong civil society, the main form of free expression of the will of the people. Election, accountability, responsibility of officials, a well-developed electoral system, suffrage, decent organization of free, open and fair elections are necessary and most important conditions for the implementation of the constitutional principle of democracy and the rights of citizens to participate in the management of society and the state.

A special role in the process of democratization of the electoral process is played by the development and adoption at the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Electoral Code that meets international norms and standards.

The upcoming elections will be held in a qualitatively new political, legal, socio-economic environment, which were the result of the implementation of the goals and objectives of the Strategy of Action in the five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021, initiated by the country's leader. This document has become a long-term program of updating and modernizing the state, a “road map” for systemic and decisive reforms, shaping a new image of Uzbekistan and ensuring the well-being of the people based on the principles of democracy, liberalization and sustainable development. Among the promising areas in the Action Strategy is the improvement of state and social construction, aimed at further strengthening the role of parliament and political parties in deepening democratic reforms and modernizing the country.

- There are a number of innovations in the conduct of this year's election campaign, including those related to the active introduction of information and communication technologies. How will this affect the preparation and conduct of the election?

- The introduction of ICT in all areas is a question that has repeatedly been raised at a high level. The Action Strategy notes the need to expand the use of information technology in all areas of the country's life. One of the most important areas for further improving the electoral process in the country is the widespread adoption of modern ICT.

In accordance with the decree of the President of the country "On organizational measures to improve the activities of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan" dated November 6, 2018, along with the priority tasks for the development of the electoral process, the widespread use of ICT and ensuring information security are determined. Work on the part of the CEC in this direction was started in advance - in two years. Along with this item, there were tasks to ensure the effectiveness of the organization of the work of election commissions, to strengthen the organizational, informational, analytical, methodological and advisory functions of the CEC, to strengthen and optimize its status.

Attention is also paid to improving the system of training and professional development of members of election commissions, improving the legal culture of voters and other subjects of the electoral process, strengthening the role of public control in organizing and conducting elections, and improving the material and technical support of the activities of election commissions.

The legislation on elections for the first time regulates the functioning of the Single Electronic List of Voter (SELV). Its implementation was carried out in accordance with the President’s decree “On measures to introduce modern information and communication technologies in the electoral process” of October 4, 2018. The system was successfully tested during the elections to the district Kengashes of people's deputies of the city of Tashkent in December 2017.

- In this year, for the first time, many will come across the information system on electoral process management (ISEPM). What is the advantages of this IS?

- ISEPM combines four areas. The first is the Single Electronic List of Voters, the second is the database of election commissions at all levels, the third is the database of buildings where they will be deployed, and the fourth is the database of deputies from political parties.

Work is underway to introduce an information system on managing the electoral process, aimed at creating an SELV and regulating the procedure for interagency cooperation. Among the priority tasks are the automation of the system, including through integration with other databases, the provision of tools for the distribution of citizens-voters at polling stations with the possibility of updating the lists. In turn, voters will have the opportunity to receive information about polling stations, through geolocation they can find their polling station, find out information about the chairman, his deputies, secretary, members of the election commission, phone numbers, and also, if necessary, send a request for change of location and place of residence. The distribution of user access rights to information stored in the SELV is provided. The Single Electronic List of Voters includes more than 20.5 million citizens of Uzbekistan. SELV is created on the basis of a number of information. They include information about citizens-voters, provided by the State Center for Personalization under the Cabinet of Ministers, by election commissions by updating lists during the election campaign. SELV is updated once a year. During the election campaign - according to a separate schedule approved by the CEC.

- How will the new electronic system achieve the principle of "one voter - one vote"?

- To ensure the widespread adoption of modern information and communication technologies in the electoral process, as well as to create the hardware and software infrastructure necessary for the implementation of the Information System on Managing Electoral Process and the effective use of the SELV, a Program of Measures to Further Improve the System of Formation and Use of the Single Electronic List of Voters has been approved. In accordance with it, the development of the procedure for compiling, updating and using the electronic voter list in elections, the approval of interagency interactions in the formation of the Single Electronic List of Voters, and the development of the infrastructure of the Information System on Managing Electoral Process are provided for. We also took into account the conduct of a joint courtyard of citizens to update information on the addresses of permanent and temporary residence of citizens, the formation of the Unified Register of Real Estate Objects and the Unified Register of Addresses of Real Estate Objects, the refinement of the Information System on Managing Electoral Process to simplify work with the SELV. Work on equipping polling stations across the country with modern computers, office equipment is being completed. A database of addresses of buildings and premises has been formed, providing for about 10,260 objects where elections will be held.

Most of the activities to implement the intended program have been completed. Of particular note is the work done on the courtyard bypass of citizens. An inventory of real estate objects was carried out to form the Unified Register of Real Estate Objects and the Unified Register of Addresses of Immovable Property Objects and the information on the addresses of permanent and temporary residence of citizens was fully updated taking into account the binding of their passport data to the cadastral number of the real estate object. In total, information was collected on the order of 33 million citizens and six million real estate objects. The ongoing work is aimed at ensuring openness, publicity and transparency of the elections. And the practice of using SELV nationwide will ensure further liberalization and democratization of society, improving the electoral process, attaching one voter to only one polling station at a time, and will fully allow the principle of "one voter - one vote" to be observed.

- How prepared are members of local election commissions for the new format of work?

- The CEC is carrying out consistent work to inform the population about the events organized, as well as to increase the level of knowledge of the population and members of election commissions using information and communication technologies. In the parliamentary elections and local representative bodies, which will be held under the motto “New Uzbekistan - New Elections!”, Over 16 thousand constituencies and precincts were formed, including 53 outside of Uzbekistan. It is planned to connect all polling stations to the information system, and training is provided for their representatives, which began even before the start of the election campaign. It will be held by more than 30 thousand specialists. In addition, methodological manuals on the basics of working with the electoral process information management system have been developed. Large-scale and systematic training, which is conducted on eight levels interactively, as well as advanced training for members of election commissions, and about 180 thousand of them, and other subjects of the electoral process on the application of the norms and requirements of the Electoral Code during election campaigns, as well as working with modern information and communication technologies and systems in the country are held for the first time.  

- If citizens have questions related to the election campaign, then where can they get answers?

- Today, all the necessary information about the election campaign conducted in Uzbekistan, along with the usual sources, can be obtained in the "figure". For example, on the official website of the Central Election Commission www.elections.uz.

The mobile application "Saylov 2019" has been launched. The information there is presented in three languages - Uzbek, Karakalpak and Russian. Users can obtain through this application the necessary information about the electoral law, election commission activists, voters, commission members, guidelines, and take part in polls. Through it, it will be easier for voters to find their site on the map using a GPS navigator.

In addition, by telephone number 1197, you can contact the CEC International Press Center, where experts will answer questions of interest related to the country's electoral legislation, the process of preparing and conducting elections. And for citizens-voters abroad, the telephone number (+ 998 55) 502-44-44 is valid.

Interviewed

Julianne Moroz.

"Правда Востока" newspaper

 

08.11.2019 232