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Biometric voter registration advances in Albania and Brazil, Aadhaar-based online voting coming to India

Venezuela replaces destroyed machines and plans biometric scanner sanitization
Biometric voter registration advances in Albania and Brazil, Aadhaar-based online voting coming to India

The Central Election Committee (CEC) of Albania has approved the purchase of hardware to set up a biometric voter registration system in the country, Euronews Albania reports.

The committee also said a clause for removing mandatory timelines should be invoked to allow the change to be implemented in time for the upcoming elections, which are only six months away. Within that time, digital systems will have to be rolled out to all polling stations in the country.

Indian state to test face biometrics, but not use them for remote voting

Hyderabad is planning to make Aadhaar-based remote digital voting available to certain voters for its upcoming municipal elections, though the local government has reversed a plan to use facial recognition to verify voters, and will instead use Aadhaar’s one-time password (OTP) facility, according to MediaNama. Face biometric data will still be collected, however, in order to improve the detection algorithm, according to the report.

E-voting will be made available to senior citizens, polling officials, COVID-19 patients, and people in quarantine.

The Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) also said that if the vote is successful, the system will be used in a pair of municipal elections scheduled for 2021.

The system is being developed by the state’s IT department and its Centre for Good Governance (CGG). IT department specialist agency Telangana State Technology Services (TSTS) is developing a blockchain element for the remote voting system.

MediaNama had previously been told that Telangana’s Real Time Digital Authentication of Identity (RTDAI) system, which uses facial recognition, and a liveness check would be used to authenticate voters.

The election is expected to be held in December or January.

Venezuela unveils new voting machines

The National Electoral Council (NEC) of Venezuela has revealed its new voting terminals, with 21-inch touchscreens, 10-hour lithium batteries and security software, along with features to help disabled voters participate, Venezuelanalysis reports. The system also includes identity verification with fingerprint biometrics, though it is unclear if the fingerprint scanner is built into the new terminals.

Almost all of the country’s election machines were destroyed in an arson attack against a warehouse in March, and the nearly-50,000 EC21 machines, which were designed in Venezuela, replace them. New processes have also been developed, including sanitization of the machines and biometric scanners.

The new machines’ other features include a paper receipt which can be used to audit the results, according to the report.

Brazil’s biometric voter registrations increase despite pandemic

Biometrics collection from eligible voters for upcoming municipal elections in Brazil have reached 117.6 million people, increasing significantly despite the pandemic, according to state news agency Agencia Brasil.

Electoral authorities have waived the requirement for biometric voter verification for this year’s elections due to COVID-19, but the number of biometric registrations rose by more than 4 million people, or 3.5 percent of the electorate, anyway. There are 147.9 million voters eligible for the upcoming elections, an increase of 2.66 percent from 2016 elections.

Time for U.S. to consider biometric online voting, Journal columnist argues

Advances in biometrics and mobile technology have made the time right to pursue online voting in America, writes Wall Street Journal Inside View Columnist Andy Kessler.

Photo ID is already the means by which our identity is confirmed during most sensitive interactions, Kessler contends, and mobile devices are already capable of providing fingerprint or face biometrics, which provide more assurance that a person is alive and who they say they are than the signatures currently used for voting in-person and by mail. Voter data could be protected from hacking through a decentralized cloud storage model, such as a blockchain.

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