Last month, we blogged about the upcoming Bahrain conference on electronic voting. Well, they are having it. One interesting aspect of the conference is that it is designed to promote public-private partnerships. As the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) president Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa told the conference, [The fact that Bahrain is holding the conference] “reflects the overall political, social and economic direction of our country, namely one of openness, transparency, and private-public sectors partnership. This is evidence that the democratic transformation, in essence, is a process of co-operation, co-ordination and support between different section of the society, formal or informal.”
One of the things that is of interest in that quote is that it states explicitly something that is too often ignored or not discussed in the United States: elections are a partnership among an array of actors that all play specific roles. From the mobilization that is done by candidates, parties, and interest groups to the role that private companies play in printing ballots and supplying voting technologies to counties, elections are a highly collaborative process. The nice thing about this conference is that it seems to be intended to get everyone on the same page about how elections will be run in an e-environment in Bahrain in the future.