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Biometric voter registration progresses unevenly in 3 African countries

Delay in Liberia as Zimbabwe advances, Nigeria investigates officials
Categories Biometrics News  |  Elections  |  ID for All
Biometric voter registration progresses unevenly in 3 African countries

The National Elections Commission of Liberia has announced on Facebook that the start of the biometric voter registration process in advance of next October’s vote will be delayed from its planned beginning on December 15.

The NEC says that a new timeline will be communicated soon, and that “the 2023 electoral process is on course.”

The change follows the long-awaited conclusion to a procurement process eventually won by Laxton to supply the voter registration equipment and software when its selection was approved by oversight body PPCC.

That decision is being challenged by Waymark Infotech and its partner Mwetana, which claim their joint bid was roughly $700,000 lower and met all qualification requirements, according to Front Page Africa. The partner’s complaint refers to financial documentation supplied by Laxton, and its use of laptops in demonstrations, rather than tablets.

Zimbabwe biometric registration progresses

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says more than 70 percent of eligible voters in the country have been registered, The Herald reports.

The ZEC’s Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana delivered the update to Zimbabwe’s Parliament, saying the biometric system is catching people attempting duplicate registrations.

Some civil society groups have complained that the ZEC is not registering all who apply, which Silaigwana attributed to people who are already on the voters roll. Because some registrations occur offline, officials would not always be able to confirm to people that they are already registered.

The official also made his case for more funding for the ZEC to carry out voter education.

Nigeria investigates 23 INEC officials

Despite excising 2.7 million ineligible registrants from its voter rolls, the provisional voter list published by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission still contains duplicate registrations and children, the BBC reports.

The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, which uses fingerprints and facial recognition for biometric deduplication, is supposed to help keep the register clean, leading to questions about how the ineligible voters appeared on the roll.

Now, 23 INEC officials are under investigation for possibly assisting in attempted voter fraud.

A former INEC official has argued that face biometrics-based age estimation technology should not be used to weed out underage registrants, meanwhile.

Adding to the uncertainty in the runup to February’s election, Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate for the All Progressives Conference, warned at a speech in London that the INEC has not assured overseas Nigerians that the system in place for electronic voting is reliable, Channels reports.

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