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Uneven global progress on biometrics-backed voting. Politicking saps efforts

Categories Biometrics News  |  Elections  |  ID for All
Uneven global progress on biometrics-backed voting. Politicking saps efforts

Nigerian officials using an automated biometric ID system have found that 23 percent of people registered to vote in the tiny state of Imo are ineligible or their registration is invalid.

The alleged fraud is being blamed on political operatives, but biometrics-assisted voting is not the subject of intrigue everywhere in the world.

The government of Benin, for instance, has primly released a list of allowed proof of ID that includes a biometric ID card, as well as a map of the computerized permanent electoral list (here, machine translated).

Not so calm in Nigeria. According to The Sun Nigeria, 2.8 million fake registrations in Imo have been deleted and the Independent National Electoral Commission has fired 23 of its own staff in what is being called a plot. The ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, is behind it, say opposition parties.

In reality, much of Nigerian politics is labeled a plot by someone and violence is not uncommon around elections.

Biometrics, meanwhile, are being deployed in the forested state of Cross River. Bimodal voter accreditation systems, which perform fingerprint and face scanning, are being prepared for use in more than 3,000 rural polling units.

The government has a great deal of faith in the setup. If the algorithm says there is no match between a would-be voter and the biometric records, a person cannot vote. There apparently is no provisional balloting.

Politicians in Guyana continue to complain that, in their view, the ruling party is dragging its feet on biometrics-secured voting. Local publication Stabroek News reports that the elections commission cannot get the government to buy a biometrics scanner.

The commission wants the scanner as the foundation for a biometric system while the government says it should put off the purchase until talks about such a system are held. Scheduled meetings to do that, according to opposition politicians, have been repeated postponed.

In The Philippines, which has also been working to register its population for biometric national ID, the government is testing its voter Register Anywhere Project.

Officials are opening biometrics-recording offices in five locations around Manila. Anyone, regardless of where they live, can go to one of the offices to register, according to local news publication Manila Bulletin.

A full pilot has yet to be scheduled.

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