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Failing technology draws Kenyan election into question

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US Election Voting Machine scanner (STOCK)
US Election Voting Machine scanner (STOCK)

Technology was meant to legitimize Kenya's election, but bugs and failing systems may draw the results into question, reports NPR. The election last weekend struggled with loss of electricity, crashing software, an overloaded SMS network for reporting results, and a glitch that may have disqualified more than a quarter-million votes. The errors have led the losing candidate to claim the election was rigged.

According to NPR, the high-tech solution follows from Kenya's eagerness to adopt technology. The country developed the most popular software for mobile money transfer, and it's building a $10 billion "Silicon Savannah" to attract IT startups. Seventy percent of Kenyans now own a cell phone — twice as many as during the previous election. Crisis centers are taking advantage of the country's connectivity to help track issues during voting. But high-tech measures are limited by the fact that only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.

"Violence could destroy this nation and serves no one's interests."

In 2007, Kenyan election troubles resulted in violence: Prime Minister Ralia Odinga made claims of corruption after losing that election, resulting in tribal violence that claimed over 1,200 lives. But this year could be different; Odinga is once again a losing candidate, but NPR says he has opted to place his trust in the Kenyan government. "Violence could destroy this nation and serves no one's interests," Odinga said on Saturday. He plans to appeal the election results with Kenya's Supreme Court.