December 20, 2013 -
Namibia is planning to use a biometric voter registration system for its upcoming election and the country’s electoral commission has just launched the machine it will be using to enroll voters.
According to a report in The Namibian, the machines were manufactured in South Africa, and consist of a laptop, fingerprint scanner, camera and signature and barcode scanner.
Voter registration starts on January 15 and ends on March 2 next year. Altogether there are 904 machines as well as generators and back-up kits for emergencies.
“All systems are ready and in place but it is important to note that the success of any electoral process depends on how the electoral and stakeholders are educated about the process,” Electoral Commission chairperson, Notemba Tjipueja said in The Namibian report.
In December, 2012, Ghana held an election using biometric verification devices as the world watched with bated breath. Now, a year after the country’s election, results are still being contested, following much confusion over the status of verification machines during and after the election in Ghana.
This isn’t the first time the biometric system used to verify voters has been called into question after-the-fact.
Reported previously, Henrique Capriles Radonski, leader of the opposition in Venezuela, has demanded an audit of the entire election including fingerprints stored in the election registry, following his party’s loss by less than 2 percent in the country’s recent presidential elections.
Also, following an election in Kenya using biometric verification, the machines were heavily criticized for technical problems which led to long delays and in many cases, non-functional verification devices.