Mazhilis and Maslikhats Elections 2023: Digitalization of Society as the Last Chance to Be Heard

March 17, 2023

The specifics of elections 2023 in Kazakhstan is that voters will simultaneously vote, electing deputies to Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and local executive bodies.

Electronic technologies will play not the least role in this process. It should be borne in mind that over the past two decades, the process of globalization has accelerated due to the spread of social media, which give network users the opportunity to expand the prospects for participation in politics by exercising their will in the form of digital democracy.

Political parties are the link between politics and the public, and in order to better fulfill their functions, they need to keep up with the times by adopting digitalization technologies.

For example, in Russia, our closest neighbor, the practice of remote electronic voting (REV) is developing and the practice of voting in a few days is also used. The level of citizens' satisfaction with the electoral procedure is increasing year by year. They are encouraged to do so by new technologies used in elections: ballot processing systems, video broadcasting, video surveillance.

But in Estonia, as well as in other countries of European Union, organization of I-voting became possible with the ID-card of every Estonian citizen. For Estonian citizens and citizens of the European Union living in Estonia, an ID-card is a mandatory identity document. Each ID-card has two passwords (PIN1 and PIN2), to ensure security of personal data. 98% of Estonia's population has an ID-card.

In addition to an ID card, one also needs a computer with an internet connection, an ID card reader, a driver for using the ID card on the computer, and a voter application. Citizens can access electronic voting at public libraries and community centers. In order to cast their vote, a voter must first enter PIN1, make their choice from the list of candidates that appears, then enter PIN2 to secure their choice.

Citizens can also identify themselves using the so-called MOBIIL-ID, a cell phone application that acts as a digital ID. But as the experience of elections to various Estonian authorities shows, ID-card identification is the most popular method of e-voting.

The secrecy of e-voting is ensured similarly to postal voting. The downloaded e-voting application encrypts the vote (PIN1). Encrypted voting can be thought of as voting contained in an internal anonymous envelope. The voter then gives a digital signature to confirm their choice (PIN2), which is treated as an external envelope.

In Kazakhstan, compared to Russia and Estonia, e-voting is just being introduced, but more than 12 million people will take advantage of it.
Digital ID cards will be used for convenient voting, Kazakhstani people can use eGov Mobile application for this purpose. The digital document is also available in mobile applications and

Also, within 15 days of election day, voters can request an Absentee Voting Certificate (AVC), which will allow them to make their choice at any polling station. For voters with health problems and in remote areas, there are provisions for mobile voting.

According to some experts, the widely advertised Sailau system, which our voters are being presented as an electronic panacea for the coming elections, does not take into account the reality that 70 percent of the elder generation of Kazakhstan's citizens, who make up the majority of voters in the country, do not have access to electronic platforms and, as a result, do not know how to use them.

The candidates for deputies of Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan expressed their opinion on the use of IT technologies in election work. Let's summarize. Undoubtedly, today it is necessary to actively introduce an electronic voting mechanism, to increase the ergonomics of electoral procedures, to develop the principles of publicity and transparency - only by observing these measures can Kazakhstan claim that our electoral system can be called modern and effective. Or at least in line with global political trends. Will it happen during the upcoming elections, we will know soon enough.