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Uganda gets 38,500 biometric voter verification devices for Thursday’s polls

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The electoral commission of Uganda says it has procured 38,500 SmartMatic biometric voter verification machines (BVVMs) at a cost of UGX82.8 billion (roughly US$22 million) to be used for general elections on January 14, TechRafiki reports.

Citizens in the East African nation go the polls on Thursday to elect a new president as well as members of parliament for the country’s 529-seat house of legislature.

Of the number of BVVMs, 2,000 of them were bought by Uganda while the remaining 36,500 were secured on lease, according to the report.

Electoral Commission Chairperson Simon Byabakama said the devices will not only help in fast-tracking the voting process on election day, but also in fighting voter fraud by ensuring that only those whose identity is authenticated by the system can cast their ballots, TechRafiki added.

The BVVMs, according to the report, will be deployed to all the 34,684 polling stations and will help the 18.1 million citizens registered for the election to find their way to their rightful polling stations.

To establish a voter’s status, the device will match the voter card or national identification number of the potential vote with their biometric data — namely fingerprints. Conclusions of the verification process will determine whether a voter is eligible to vote and at which polling station they can do so, the TechRafiki report explained.

Smartmatic also provided biometric voter verification equipment for elections in the country in 2016.

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