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Biometric card delays ‘exclude millions’ from Iraq elections

digital identity biometric registration

Iraq’s electoral commission is struggling to update voter data and issue biometric cards in time for the country’s October 10 general elections and millions of Iraqis may be excluded from voting, according to local media reports.

The elections were originally slated for May 2022 but brought forward following demands from mass anti-government protests which began in October 2019. The election was initially rescheduled for June 2021 but the Iraqi Council of Ministers subsequently voted unanimously to delay it by four months.

More than a million Iraqis living abroad will not be able to vote, reports The National News.

Alongside Iraqis living overseas, a large number of young Iraqis are also facing exclusion. According to a member of the Iraqi Commission for Human Rights quoted in Kurdistan 24, 1.5 million Iraqis born between 2001 and 2003 and who should be voting for the first time, will not be able to do so as their names are not on the voter register and they have not received their biometric or temporary cards.

The latest figures from the electoral commission show that 24 million Iraqis have registered to vote of a total population of almost 40 million. Nominations have now closed and a somewhat vague statement that “As the elections are coming up, the commission’s employees are working continuously throughout the day to accomplish the tasks assigned to them” has been attributed to the electoral commission.

Problems with the registration process for the biometric cards were noted in a report published by a UN body in March.

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