Thirteen-year old Mohammed Al-Badwi smiles as he poses in front of a camera at his school. He is part of a test-run for the soon-to-be implemented electronic registration system for future parliament and presidential elections. Proponents of the technology say that an electronic system, as opposed to the manual registration used now, will assist Yemen as it transitions to democracy. The computerized system is scheduled to be implemented in September, and proponents say it will make the process more efficient and eliminate the risk of fraud. A voter’s data is entered into a computer and a photo of the voter is taken, along with his or her ten fingerprints, electronically. The system utilizes scanners, digital cameras, finger recognition devices and computers, Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum head Mohammed Al-Hakimi said. The process, proponents say, allows those monitoring to recognize if someone has already registered or voted.
Judge Abdulmon’m Al-Eryani, head of the Media and Electoral Awareness Sector in the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER), said the committee implemented the test-run to ensure the efficiency and accuracy of the technology being considered. Three international companies are competing for a bid to provide the technology and services.
Two-hundred-and-ten male and female students from Rabeah Al-Adwiah and Baghdad Schools played the role of voters. Twelve professors and 18 students from the computer science department of Sana’a University evaluated the devices for performance, El-Eryani said.
Representatives of the three international companies from France, Belgium and the Netherlands were present during the trial-run. The electronic registration and voting system will cost $22 million, El-Eryani said. When the Yemeni government fell short of the sum needed, the United Nations and other donor countries stepped in to provide funding.
Full Article: Electronic voting system coming to Yemen | Yemen Times.