July 22, 2014 -
The Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA) is currently hosting a three-day conference dedicated to applying and sustaining biometric technology in election management in Africa, according to a report by VibeGhana.com.
Held July 21 to 23, the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) is hosting the conference which is being attended by representatives of electoral management bodies and practitioners from Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Sierra Leone and South Africa.
Conference attendees will be able to discuss the challenges and successes of their biometric election processes in Africa, as well as learn valuable insight on how biometric technology can be used to improve the electoral process.
As part of its ongoing programme to support Ghanaian electoral cycle 2010-2016, the European Union is partially funding the conference.
EC Chairman and AAEA Executive Secretary Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said the event would address the use of biometric technology in election administration, which has become increasingly popular in Africa in recent years.
The technology was being used in election administration to resolve issues of efficiency, credibility, acceptance of results and managing various large-scale data, including voter registration data, production of ballots and logistical planning.
In addition, the technology was being used to calculate and distribute election results, as well as to provide stakeholders with copies of data or results information as well as to make it available on official websites.
But despite the many useful ways that biometrics could be applied to election administration, there are many concerns that must be alleviated by professionals, particularly those risks related to maintenance and support, storage, preservation, security, and sustainability, said Dr Afari-Gyan.
He also stressed that the use of biometrics in the election process not only has its share of technical issues to address but also operational and legal issues relating to voter rights.
“It is also a moot question as to whether technology should entirely replace the human factor in elections, thereby, precluding scrutiny by election officials, party agents, observers, and the media,” said Dr. Afari-Gyan.