Campaigning has started in Afghanistan for next month’s parliamentary elections amid concerns that the much-delayed vote could be postponed again due to the uncertainty over new technology. The vote for the lower house of parliament has been scheduled for October 20 – delayed by more than three years – and is seen as a test for the presidential elections that will take place in April. New government measures hope to put an end to the previous issues they have faced. With election fraud now being a criminal offence, voting stations will be placed in public buildings and monitored. Additionally, a new advanced voting system will be used.Full Article: Concern about voting system ahead of Afghanistan election | News | Al Jazeera.
biometric voter registration
Brazil’s highest court ruled Wednesday that 3.4 million people cannot vote in next month’s national elections because they failed to register their fingerprints with authorities, a move that could affect the crowded presidential race. All voting is electronic in Brazil, and since 2016 voters have had to register their fingerprints to cast ballots under a biometric voting system. On a 7-2 vote, the justices found it would be impossible to drop the requirement for biometric identification less than two weeks before the Oct. 7 elections. Two judges abstained. Critics say authorities didn’t properly inform Brazilians of the requirement, so many failed to register their fingerprints.Full Article: Brazil court bars voters who didn't register fingerprints.
The numbers tell a fascinating story. The Kyrgyz Republic has a population of 5 million, and has had 30 Prime Ministers, 5 Presidents, 2 bloody revolutions, and 1 civil war in the southern Osh region since 1991. The government is understandably keen to better engage citizens – perhaps something of an understatement. Technology is seen as the answer for a nation that wants to be a hub on the Digital Silk Road, and it’s using tech to cut corruption, include different viewpoints and increase participation in elections.Full Article: Why Kyrgyzstan uses biometrics in its voting system | GovInsider.
Malawi has always relied on paper registration for voters, but electoral authorities say that hasn’t worked so well. “We used to have a lot of problems in the past” with the passports and driver’s licenses used for registration “because photographs may fall off” or names may get misspelled, said Yahya Mmadi, a member of the Malawi Electoral Commission. But the southeast African country’s recently unveiled biometric system, being put in place before the 2019 general elections, “will be 100 percent correct,” he said. It relies on unique markers such as fingerprints.Full Article: Malawi Pushes New Biometric Voter Registration, Despite Doubts.
National: Congress, states don’t seem inclined to incorporate biometrics in new voting technologies | BiometricUpdate
While other nations are rapidly incorporating biometrics into their voting technologies, the US Congress and states – and local jurisdictions – don’t seem to be all that concerned about utilizing biometrics to verify the identities of individuals voting in America, despite the concerns over election machine cyber-tampering that’s continued to mount since the 2016 elections. In its report, Observations on Voting Equipment Use and Replacement (PDF), which was requested by lawmakers, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) — Congress’ investigative arm — “did not consider the issue of biometrics as part of our work,” Biometric Update was told by Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security & Justice issues at GAO. In fact, Gambler said, “GAO’s prior work on elections issues also has not addressed biometrics, and thus, we don’t have background or insights to share in this area.”Full Article: Congress, states don't seem inclined to incorporate biometrics in new voting technologies | BiometricUpdate.
The election roadmap is facing a stumbling block due to a court issue over the software required to ensure legitimacy during the voting process. Laxton Group Ltd won the tender to supply the BVR kits that have been used during the voter registration process. Laxton Group argue that ZECs decision to award the de-duplication tender to IPSIDY could compromise the fairness of elections and they feel they are in the best position to provide the de-duplication service since they handled the registration that comes before de-duplication. We don’t know why ZEC decided to award different companies the respective tenders. Laxton supplied the kits that were used for registration. The next important step has been taken away from Laxton and awarded to a different company Ipsidy. Laxton says this may comromise the new voters’ roll.Full Article: Tech Issue At The Courts May Delay Election Roadmap - Techzim.
Somalia: Somaliland 1st in World to Use Iris Scanner Technology to Stem Voter Fraud | teleSUR English
Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, was the guinea pig for iris-recognition technology at a presidential poll, according to election spokesman Saed Ali Muse. The self-declared sovereign state became the first in the world to use the scanners, which is the world’s most sophisticated voting register. Somaliland’s implementation of iris recognition devices follow incidents involving duplication of voters and other alleged fraud and logistic problems dating back to the 2008 elections.Full Article: Somaliland: 1st in World to Use Iris Scanner Technology to Stem Voter Fraud | News | teleSUR English.
Long queues were the order of the day as Kenyans took to the polls Tuesday to vote in a hotly contested national election, pitting current president Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party against former prime minister Raila Odinga’s Nasa party. Voters started queueing as early as 2am, according to Caroline Kantai, presiding officer at Moi Avenue Primary School. Polling centres officially opened at 6am. Some centres opened late due to poor weather conditions, the delayed arrival of voting materials and problems with the Kenya Integrated Elections Management Systems (KIEMS), which verify voters’ biometric information. Kantai said some polling stations had problems verifying biometrics because voters’ fingers were sweaty or oily, or because “the machine just failed for one reason or the other”. In cases like these, polling clerks verified voters’ identities manually, using their identification documents.Full Article: Overeager voters, faulty biometrics and arrests as #KenyaDecides - The Daily Vox.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has barred the Zimbabwe Political Parties Dialogue Forum (ZPPDF) from partaking in the Biometric Voter Registration kit testing pilot project. ZPPDF is a technical partner of the opposition National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) coalition. The forum had written to ZEC, asking to be allowed to participate in the BVR testing pilot project. Last week ZEC engaged political parties and civil society organisations that deal with elections where the electoral body announced that it was going to test the feasibility of the BVR.Full Article: Zimbabwe: Biometrics - ZEC Blocks Opposition Expert - allAfrica.com.
Elections present a milestone beyond which countries either strengthen their democratic credentials or become failed states. Often states fail when there are either perceived or blatant election malpractices. This in turn can lead to prolonged civil unrest.
Numerous cases exist across the continent. But I will use the Kenyan case to illustrate how election processes can be compromised, and then brought back from the brink with the use of technology. Following the election in 2007 Kenya erupted into two months of unprecedented conflict. People were unhappy with the outcome which saw Mwai Kibaki of the incumbent Party of National Unity being declared the winner ahead of Raila Odinga and his Orange Democratic Movement. Many disputed the final tally. To preempt a similar situation in future elections, a commission led by former South African judge Justice Johann Kriegler was set up. The Kriegler Commission made several critical findings. These included instances of double voter registration, widespread impersonation and ballot stuffing. It concluded that, as a result, it was impossible to know who actually won the election.
When the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that the country was going to adopt Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system for use in the 2018 harmonised elections most of those that have known the Government of Zimbabwe found this overture to be too good to be true. Coming as it did — a good 30 months ahead of the elections — after minimum lobbying by civic society organisation (CSOs), many became suspicious about this concession that was being readily granted by a government that was intransigently resisting effecting a raft of electoral reforms that opposition parties have been demanding. At the time, some members of these CSOs had told the Financial Gazette that the readiness with which government was willing to let go the “golden” Tobaiwa Mudede-compiled voters’ roll showed that either the ruling party strategists had identified horse and cart loopholes that could be exploited to ZANU-PF’s electoral advantage or it was just a strategy to buy time so that it could plead poverty and shortage of time on the eleventh hour when the only option left would be to revert to the tested old voters’ roll.Full Article: Zimbabwean politics of biometric voter registration system - The Zimbabwe Daily.
Zimbabwe’s opposition parties put on a show of unity Wednesdays, where they marched through the streets of Harare, demanding transparency and the disbanding of the state-appointed electoral commission they accuse of hindering free-and-fair elections. Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was among those marching, singing and demanding accountability from the country’s electoral commission, despite heavy police presence. Efforts to derail Wednesday’s march, proved unsuccessful as opposition parties put on a force of unity as they demanded the disbandment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which they declared lacked “impartiality and independence.”Full Article: Tsvangirai, Other Opposition Leaders Stage Anti-Electoral Commission March.
Opposition political parties have added their voice to growing calls for the abandonment of biometric voter registration (BVR) amid concerns the system could be prone to manipulation by hostile nations and untenable due to the country’s low Internet penetration. Lawyers and academics were the first to raise the red flag over the implementation of BVR last week, saying electronic voting could create challenges that may be used to discredit the electoral process. Opposition parties share similar sentiments. Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader Mr Elton Mangoma called for the abandonment of the process.Full Article: Zimbabwe: More Thumbs Down for Biometric Voting - allAfrica.com.
Zimbabwe must not rush to implement nationwide biometric voter registration (BVR) before a pilot project, given the threat of hacking on technological infrastructure and the financial pitfalls that could plague the process, political analysts have warned. The analysts noted that developed countries like France had since cancelled electronic voting, while Kenya and Ghana that conducted it went through serious challenges that spawned disputed outcomes. The analysts spoke in the wake of a spirited call from opposition parties for the introduction of electronic voter registration and voting, which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has since started putting in motion.Full Article: Red flag over Zimbabwe's biometric voter registration - Bulawayo24 News.
The Zimbabwe biometric voter registration (BVR) system is expected to be fully functional in March 2017 as part of a broader plan to utilise ICT in the running of the country’s general elections, scheduled for July 2018. The BVR system will be used during registration and voting. Amid allegations of fraudulent voter registration and ballot stuffing, the local opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has expressed concern over the security of the infrastructure and the sluggish pace of the implementation of the BVR system.Full Article: Zimbabwe’s biometric voter registration system hangs in balance - ITWeb Africa.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, says the election management body is implementing a raft of measures aimed at making the Zimbabwe’s electoral system more transparent and credible. Makarau told a stakeholders’ conference organised by the Elections Resource Centre that the reforms include a robust and efficient biometric voter registration exercise that would eliminate the dead and absent from the voters roll. She said the polling station-based voter registration exercise would, among other issues, result in the reduction in the number of ballot papers per polling station and reduce chances of double voting.Full Article: Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Set to Implement Sweeping Reforms.
The Ugandan Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that it will use electronic systems in the forthcoming General Elections slated for February 18th, 2016. The commission will use a Biometric Voter Verification Kit (BVVK) during the voter verification process and use the Electronic Results Transmission and Dissemination System (ERTDS) to transmit presidential and parliamentary results. Also Read: Don’t feel like doing your laundry? In Kampala, there’s an app for that BVVK is set to authenticate voters’ identify using fingerprints to match the details in the systems in order to improve the management and conduct of the elections, according to a statement by the EC.Full Article: Uganda to introduce technology in February elections.
Uganda’s electoral commission plans to meet next week with representatives of the country’s eight presidential candidates, political parties and stakeholders to explain its decision to use a biometric system to verify voters in the February 18 general election. This would be the first time that the electoral body employs a biometric system, which uses human body characteristics to confirm a person’s identity. Jotham Taremwa, a spokesman for the electoral commission, says the deployment of the biometric verification mechanism at all polling stations across the country will significantly boost the credibility of the presidential, legislative and local elections. The commission has begun training its officers in how to use the system.Full Article: Uganda to Use Biometric Verification Machines for Elections.
Around 3.8 million registered voters may be disenfranchised in the national and local elections in 2016 if they fail to have their biometrics taken, a Commission on Elections official said on Friday. In his personal Twitter account, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the 3.8-million registered voters without biometrics would not be able to vote if they would fail to come to a Comelec registration satellite booth within three months. Since the Comelec started the satellite registrations in all shopping malls nationwide, it has been able to take the biometrics of 500,000 registered voters.Full Article: 3.8m registered Pinoys may lose voting rights - The Standard.
The Electoral Commission of Uganda will use a biometric system – a system that uses human body characteristics to determine identity – to update its voters register ahead of next year’s general election, says Electoral Commission spokesman Jotham Taremwa. Denying reports that the electoral commission lacks funds needed to organize the elections within the next 10 months, Taremwa says the electoral body needs about $90,000,000 to organize the elections. The government has disbursed $67,000,000 but has yet to release the rest of the funds.Full Article: New Measures to Prevent Voter Irregularities in Uganda.