Afghanistan to procure 24,000 biometric units to identify voters in upcoming elections

Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) has reached an agreement to use biometric systems to ensure the legitimacy of upcoming elections, and is working with an unnamed German company to procure 24,000 units and other necessary equipment, TOLOnews reports.

“The issue which is being worked on is the use of a biometric system on October 20 (Election Day),” said IEC spokesperson Hafizullah Hashemi. “Our assessments have been completed by up to 70 percent, but there are still questions in this regard. We hope that we can find answers for them.”

Hashemi also said that biometric units would be deployed to more than 5,000 polling stations across the country, and that further details would be finalized in consultation with political parties. Both online and offline systems will be used to enroll the more than 9 million registered voters in the country.

The deal is expected to be worth 15 million Euros (US$17.65 million), and entails delivery of the devices to Kabul by October 10, sources told TOLOnews. The devices the IEC intends to purchase include a printer for facial images, as well as fingerprint and Tazkira national identity document-reading capabilities.

“The IEC should assure the people that the system will be managed properly,” comments Yusuf Rasheed, CEO of the Free and Fair Election of Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani asked the Central Statistic Organization (CSO) in August to determine exactly how many eligible voters there are using modern technology, and to work with the IEC and other agencies.

The electoral commission of Nigeria, another country dealing with an insurgency in remote areas, announced earlier this year that fingerprint authentication will be used in its 2019 elections.

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