It has emerged that in spite of the fact that the government provided GH¢198 million (198 billion old cedis) through budgetary allocations to the Electoral Commission (EC), for the biometric registration of voters and electronic verification for the December, 2012 elections, the Commission is reported to be owing over GH¢120 million (120 billion old cedis) in respect of the registration and the elections. According to finance ministry officials, the EC has not provided evidence on the over expenditure given the fact that the budget of the EC even included allocations for run off of the Presidential elections between the first two contestants, if no outright winner emerged. The EC is in a debt crisis following its inability to settle debts owed to suppliers of biometric equipment and election material as well as printers and EC officials, regarding the registration exercise and the December, 2012 general elections.
biometric voter registration
On March 4th Kenyans went to the polls to elect the country’s 4th president, among other officials. Most polling stations opened on time at 6 AM. Some, however, opened late due to late arrival of voting materials or the failure of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits that were used to identify voters before they cast their ballots. It was the first time that Kenya had implemented an electronic voter register, the previous manual register having had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ghost voters. It was also the first election following the enactment of a new constitution in 2010, which doubled the number of elective contests in the general election. With the botched 2007 general election still fresh on everyone’s mind, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was keen on guarding the credibility of the process. The actual voting went relatively well. Besides a night attack on the eve of the election by a separatist group in the former Coast Province, there were no major incidents. Most polling stations closed at 5 PM and those that opened late were allowed to extend voting until 10 PM.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has adopted the use of Electronic Biometric Voter Registration System in the country in order to address the enormous challenges the commission has been experiencing in maintaining a credible voters roll. A Biometric Voter Registration involves the use of biometric technologies with the use of computers, fingerprint scanners and digital cameras to capture the bio data of applicants. A MEC statement signed by the Chief Elections Officer, Willie Kalonga, says the adoption has been made following wide and extensive consultations with various stakeholders on voter registration solution.
The Electoral Commission (EC) says no voter was allowed to cast his/her ballot without undergoing biometric verification. It said upon being served with the further and better particulars by the petitioners on 11,916 polling stations where alleged irregularities took place, it examined and analysed its records, adding, “the analysis confirmed that, no voters were allowed to vote without verification at any polling station.” In an amended response filed at the registry of the Supreme Court on its behalf by its solicitors, Lynes, Quashie-Idun and Co., the EC denied claims that voters were allowed to vote without undergoing verification, adding that voting continued on December 8, 2012 at about 400 polling stations where slowness or malfunction of machines was recorded on voting day on December 7, 2012.
As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it’s trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence. Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst. Last time around, a text message came on Dec. 31, 2007, four days after a presidential election that many people in the Kalenjin tribe thought was rigged. The text message said that the most powerful Kalenjin figure in the government, William Ruto, was killed. This wasn’t true. But the rumor went viral, from cellphone to cellphone. “That was around in the morning, and by 5, people were moving with their properties, the houses were being torched, and you’re just seeing smoke,” says a man named Alex, who asked that his last name not be used. Alex was in Kenya’s Rift Valley, where gangs of youths with gas canisters and machetes attacked their ethnic rivals. Now Alex is part of a private research project called Umati that scours social media for potentially dangerous speech — speech like that 2007 text message, which he says wasn’t just some falsehood. It was written to incite. “It was hate speech, because whatever was being written there, on the text message, it was for people to react against certain kind of people,” he says.
The call for employment of technology in Zimbabwe for both voter registration and facilitation of the electoral process is not entirely new. Masvingo MP Tongai Matutu called for the introduction of biometrics, lodging a motion in parliament to this effect in 2010. The issue was raised again in March last year by Pishai Muchauraya who said though it had been discussed with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, nothing concrete had materialised. In April last year, Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa also called for the adoption of a digital biometric voters’ roll. I also brought up this issue in July last year in which I explored the basics behind biometrics technology. Most recently, calls led by Regional Integration minister Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga to have online voters’ registration were rejected by the Registrar-General (RG) who contends that this does not provide adequate checks as required in Section 24 of the Electoral Act.
Editorials: Voter fraud and illegal immigration: a biometric card solution | Robert Pastor/latimes.com
The American people want the Democratic and Republican parties to solve our nation’s problems together, but bipartisan solutions become possible only if each side gives the other the benefit of the doubt. We should begin with two polarizing issues — voter fraud and migration. Biometric identification cards offer a solution for both. More than 30 states require identification cards to vote. Republicans believe such ID cards are important to prevent electoral fraud. Democrats believe voter impersonation is not a problem, and that the real reason for the IDs is to suppress the votes of poor and old people and minorities, who lack cards and tend to vote Democratic. The Supreme Court accepted that voter identification cards were a legitimate instrument for ensuring ballot integrity, but many state courts suspended the laws because they were implemented late with confusing rules and without easy access to cards. In fact, statewide IDs are of little help because most cases of double voting are by people with homes in two states.
The Election Commission in Nepal has been working on a biometric voters’ registry database and has accumulated 10.9 million eligible voters thus far, Republica reports. So far, registration takes place at the Commission and consists of a fingerprint and a photograph for identity verification. The Commission has been making internal preparations for the next constituent assembly election in the country, including developing a 120-day integrated action plan to ensure all human resource, materials and budget have been accounted for.
Ghana: NPP urges Electoral Commission to clarify the status of biometric machines used in Ghana presidential election | BiometricUpdate.com
The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on the Electoral Commission in Ghana to clarify the status of all biometric verification machines used in the country’s latest election, earlier this month. General Secretary Kwado Owusu Afriyie has made these calls, as reports of District Returning Officers allege that they had received instructions to reset biometric machines to zero verification at the polling stations, Joy Online reports. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) party’s John Dramani Mahama has won the election with 50.7% of the vote, narrowly defeating the NPP’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who held 47.74% of the vote.
Ghana: Despite Some Glitches, Ghana’s New Biometric Voting System Widely Viewed as a Success | TechPresident
Ghanaians went to the polls last Friday to cast their ballots for president. Widely viewed as a poster child for stability and democracy in a region that is fraught by civil war and conflict, the West African country must now decide how to invest its newly discovered oil wealth. The current elections placed the incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, 58 (@JDMahama), of the National Democractic Congress (NDC) against Nana Akufo-Addo, 64 (Nadaa2012), of the leading opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Mahama favors generating wealth by investing the country’s oil revenues in infrastructure, while Akufo-Addo counters that the way to raise the population out of poverty is to invest the money in free primary and secondary education. The average Ghanaian makes $4 per day, with the majority of the population yet to experience the benefits of oil revenues.