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Nigeria state election suffers biometric voter verification failures, polls declared inconclusive

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Biometrics and digital ID

The governorship election in Nigeria’s Anambra state on November 6 was seriously affected by failure of the biometric voter accreditation system, causing many voters to retire home without casting their ballots, local media reports.

According to Premium Times, hitches including the failure of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which authenticates voters using their fingerprint and face biometrics, caused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare the polls inconclusive as many of the voters who showed up on Saturday to perform their civic duty were unable to do so.

While voting continued in some parts of the state on Sunday November 7, the electoral umpire has fixed November 9 as date for completion of the voting exercise in the Local Government Area of Ihiala. Voting could not go ahead in Ihiala for lack of sufficient voting materials and well as other irregularities, the report adds.

In its own report, Vanguard wrote that the Anambra state INEC Commissioner Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji confirmed that the BVAS failure was noticed in many polling stations across the state as a result of a software breach, forcing the election management body to hold an emergency meeting in the afternoon of November 6 to review the situation.

The outlet mentioned that top-ranked officials such the federal Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, as well as the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance in the election, faced difficulty having themselves accredited at the polling station.

Meanwhile, in a separate report, Premium Times quoted a diplomat and a lawmaker as expressing worries over the BVAS failure, saying it caused many voters to wait for long hours, with some not finally being able to vote.

The officials accused INEC of “sabotage” and wondered why the body failed in its promise of rectifying some of the glitches with the BVAS system witnessed during a rerun poll in the state of Delta. They said it would have been better if the voter accreditation was done manually.

Meanwhile, in sharp contrast to reports about the biometric system failures, the deputy governor of Anambra state Nkem Okeke told The Cable he had never seen any election as smooth as the one of November 6 in the state. He said the BVAS system worked perfectly well and congratulated INEC on that.

“This was probably the smoothest process I’ve ever seen. Before, I had a problem with my fingerprint. The machine could not recognize my fingerprint but this one recognized it quite well. It didn’t even take a second before that took place. This is smooth, you can see people are voting, it’s peaceful,” said Okeke.

Biometrics introduced in North Macedonia local polls

North Macedonians, on October 17, voted to elect their local representatives in polls that saw the introduction of biometrics for the first time, RFE/RL reports.

Fingerprint readers were used to identify 48 percent of the 1.8 million voters who showed up to cast their ballot to choose local officials in 80 municipalities as well as in the 10 municipalities that make up the country’s capital. Thirty-four mayors were elected in the first round of the voting.

The second round of the elections took place in 44 municipalities and a total of 1,353,990 citizens were eligible to cast their ballots in 2,481 polling stations, reports Trend.

Video analytics system to ensure credible India poll results

Election Commission officials in the Indian state of Bihar are using a video analytics system to ensure transparency in the counting of votes for the panchayat elections there, Mint writes.

It is the first time a video analytics system is used for elections in the country.

The system, provided by artificial intelligence firm Staqu, is intended to make sure there are no errors in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and that vote-counting is not manipulated, the report adds.

The system, which runs on its proprietary video analytics solution uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and text recognition to identify the candidates and count votes directly from the camera feed by monitoring the EVM screens.

The State Election Commission also made available fingerprint biometric readers for voter identification during the polls, according to Mint.

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