Innovatrics biometrics remove 200,000 ineligible voters from electoral rolls in Guinea
The use of facial recognition technology from Innovatrics in Guinea’s biometric voter registration program has allowed the system to be reused for the upcoming Presidential election, according to a presentation during the ID4Africa webinar on facial recognition earlier this month.
Head of Government Solutions Matus Kapusta explained how the company was contracted by Guinea’s Commission Electoral Nationale Independante (CENI), and its work to maintain the trustworthiness of the democratic system with biometrics.
Guinea’s electoral system includes an automated biometric identification system (ABIS) for fingerprint and face biometrics and reporting for the central voter’s registry, as well as a voter ID card for each of the country’s 7 million eligible voters. Enrollment took roughly 20 days, with 4,000 mobile stations, according to Kapusta, followed by a biometric deduplication process.
Innovatrics has also provided biometric voter registration technology to Burkina Faso and other biometric systems to countries including Nigeria and Indonesia, Kapusta noted in his presentation. The company provided a fingerprint voter registration system for a previous voter registration exercise in Guinea in 2015, and in 2019 was selected to provide a solution including software for enrollment stations and the central site. The solution is being reused for upcoming Presidential elections in October 2020.
The fingerprint deduplication efforts were not successful, Kapusta says, as people were found to have two valid voter ID cards, and incomplete and inconsistent enrollments also caused failures. The deduplication efforts were hindered by a lack of birth records, language and text capturing challenges, and in some cases, operators who skipped the biometric enrollment step.
Despite this, thousands of duplicate voter registrations were detected by Innovatrics, and Kapusta said the company’s key findings include the importance of operator training for specific cases, such as differentiating identical twins from duplicate registries. The company also developed a module to identify minors, as thousands of children had been found enrolled with fake IDs in the registry in 2015, which threatened the credibility of the electoral process. In all, more than 200,000 ineligible voters were removed from the list.
Verification of voters is performed through manual face matching at the country’s 10,000 polling stations, and Kapusta notes the importance that puts on the trustworthiness of the voter registry. That trustworthiness was ultimately confirmed by an audit performed by ECOWAS-CEDEAO.
Indian state to trial voter verification with face biometrics
Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) will pilot a face recognition application to verify the identity of voters at polling stations for upcoming municipal elections, the Times of India reports.
The Times spoke to data protection experts who said that with no data protection law in place, the pilot could be challenged legally. An advocate with Telangana’s high court notes that Indian law requires all state measures that affect citizen’s privacy must be based in law, necessary, and proportional.
A representative of technology vendor to the government and private sector Digital Eyecon told the Times that the biometric technology could discourage voter fraud and election rigging.
Papua New Guinea pilots biometric voter rolls
Fingerprint and face biometrics will be used for voter enrollment and electoral roll verification in Papua New Guinea, according to Loop PNG.
Voter registration and biometric enrollment for Kupiano Ward 5’s local level government by-election will be conducted by the PNG Electoral Commission. Local government documents will subtract deceased voters and add those who have turned 18 in the ward to the eligibility list.
PNG Electoral Commission Acting Deputy Commissioner Simon Sinai announced the pilot will take place from October 3 to 7, 2020. He also said the government agencies responsible for the project can overcome the challenges it will entail be working together.