Biometric voting machine failures isolated incidents, Uganda’s Electoral Commission says

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An unknown number of biometric voter verification machines being used in Uganda’s election failed to verify the identity of people at polling centers during national elections this week, The East African reports.

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said presiding officers had been instructed to carry on without using them, forcing officials at an unknown number of polling stations to resort to manual verifications, which slowed the process. RFI writes that some of the failed devices were located in the capitol of Uganda, Kampala.

The fingerprint biometric machines had operated slowly at first, before ceasing to function, in at least one case. At many polling stations, the machines, which are provided by SmartMatic, worked effectively throughout the process, according to the report.

EC Chairman Simon Mugenyi Byabakama said the biometric machine failures were isolated incidents, and declared the election a success, Kenya’s The Star reports.

The EC ruled that people in line as of the 4pm deadline for votes would be allowed to cast their ballots, after long lineups grew longer with the failure of some biometric devices. Several polling stations also opened late, according to RFI.

The election is bound to be contested, challenger Bobby Wine claiming victory despite early results showing a lead for incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, per Al Jazeera. Wine also alleged widespread fraud and violence, and internet services were disrupted throughout the country. The U.S. embassy had warned that it would be impossible to meaningfully observe the poll after three-quarters of its observer accreditation requests were denied.

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