Brazil municipal elections to employ biometric voting

October 6, 2012 - 

More than half a million electronic voting machines will be used this Sunday during Brazil’s municipal elections where nearly 140 million people will have a chance to vote.

During the election, approximately 7.5 million of voters will use biometric machines that will identify them by scanning fingerprints. Brazil’s election authority, the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, has committed to using biometric technology to eliminate the possibility of someone taking someone else’s place to vote, making it practically impossible for voter fraud to be committed.

The authority’s expectation is that by 2018, all regions of the country will have ballot boxes with biometric readers.

The election process using the biometric machines is straightforward. The Brazil’s electoral authority registers images of all the fingers on one’s hands. Further, each voter is digitally photographed. The confirmation of the voter’s identity is automatic, through a simple reading of their fingerprint.

If election officials have any doubts regarding a voter’s identity, or if their fingerprint is not recognized by the authority’s biometric system, officials will have access to the voter’s photograph for authentication.

The first time that electronic voting systems and biometrics were used was during the 2010 Brazilian elections. During the poll, some 1.2 million voters piloted the use of the biometric voting machines. Used at that time in 60 cities, the fingerprint machines had a 93.5 percent success rate. Tests found that some of the machines did have difficulty registering voter fingerprints. But the eventual phase-in of the technology is designed to determine and eliminate problems.

Diebold won the competitive bid from Tribunal Superior Eleitoral to implement the system, and utilized U.are.U fingerprint technology from DigitalPersona.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.