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Democracy Day: Technology Contributions To Democracy In Nigeria And Other Countries

Today, 12th June 2020 is Democracy Day in Nigeria and we are using the opportunity to explore how technology is making for a more democratic society in Nigeria and other countries of the world.


Democracy in itself means a system of government by the whole population or eligible members of a state, through elected representatives. By popular definition and views, democracy is usually tied to freedom of expression and the right to choose leaders. While there may be different schools of thought with varying opinions, this is democracy’s fundamental backbone.


Thus, we look at how tech has improved the democracy world over. We start with the right to choose leaders; voting.


In 2015, Nigeria’s electoral body INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) widely used technology to run the presidential election held in the country. The commission used Smart Card Reader (SCR) to read the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that citizens used to vote.


In Brazil, electronic voting is very popular as well. The country uses an electronic ballot box that aids quick collation of votes. For example, in 2010, Brazil announced the result of the presidential election just 70 minutes after the last of 135 million voters cast their votes.

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Estonians also use online voting and reports claim that one-third of votes in the country between 2014 and 2015 were cast online. The United States is also popular for using electronic voting systems. About 18 states in the country allow ballots by mail and some others even support votes via fax or a secure website.


Technology also plays an important role in democracy when it comes to freedom of speech. In the past, when information could only be passed through physical means such as prints and letters, it was easy for governments to control expression. However, with improvements in tech, this has proven to be impossible.


One most recent example is the #BlackLivesMatter online movement. With social media and the internet, people are able to give support to causes as freely as possible. Despite some governments trying to curb ‘free speech’ on the internet; there are still many grey areas that allow people to express themselves as freely as possible.


In less democratic climes as well, technology is giving people democracy online even when it is not obtainable physically. It gives people the platform to report incidents that governments may try to suppress or censor.


As Nigeria celebrates Democracy Day today, it is important to recognize the impact of technology. Also, it will be a good time to seek ways to integrate tech more into democratic proceedings.


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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.

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