Zimbabwe will no longer deploy biometrics-based voting in 2018 election

January 26, 2017 - 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that it will no longer be implementing a biometrics-based voting system for the 2018 general elections, according to a report by Zim Eye.

The move comes a year after ZEC unveiled plans to use a biometric voting system as part of its reforms ahead of the 2018 general elections.

The new biometric technology that the ZEC is set to acquire would only be used to facilitate the voter registration process.

The ZTE said the voting system will remain the same, however, any individuals who fail to register using the biometric technology would be ineligible to vote.

The voter registration campaign, which will begin in March, will capture the person’s biometrics including their unique physical traits, fingerprints, and other details.

“The biometric technology is for voter registration only,” ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said. “It’s not biometric or electronic voting. The technology is going to assist us to compile a bit more accurate voters roll. When it comes to voting, we use our usual process like the one we used in the recent Bikita West bi-election.”

Justice Makarau said the electoral body evaluated bids from at least 12 vendors and invited the top three bids to perform a live demonstration of their BVR kits in early February. The agency will then decide on the best supplier.

Recently, Justice Makarau assured the country that the new biometrics-based voters’ roll would not contain ghost or duplicate voters.

“Only the living with fingerprints and their faces will be able to present themselves,” Justice Makarau said. “To that extent, our voters’ roll is going to be very accurate. The biometric voter registration kits are coming with a software that detects multiple or double registrations. Your face and fingerprint would help us weed out all those who try to register twice.”

The voters’ roll will be polling-station based to ensure that the name of each voter will only appear at a particular polling station.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.