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Albania updates biometric voting machines, process to thwart manipulation

Albania updates biometric voting machines, process to thwart manipulation

As Albania approaches its local elections on May 14, officials have introduced new biometric voting machines and steps in the identification process to prevent people avoiding fingerprint identification from manipulation attempts, such as voting several times. 

The head of Central Election Commission (CEC) Ilirijan Celibashi said last week that the biometric identification system will document voters that do not wish to use their fingerprints to prove their identities at the polling stations, Albanian Daily News reports. The new voter identification devices are being tested ahead of the elections.

“We have identified cases where a certain voter found a way to avoid being fingerprinted,” says Celibashi. “Now with a better system of operators, I believe that the process of biometric identification will be better realized.” He also indicated that in past elections, machine operators have used their own fingerprints to allow others to vote.

Albania introduced its Electronic Voter Identification System (SEIV) in 2021 after the European Union allocated 15 million euros (US$16.5 million) for the technology. Biometric identification of voters during elections was requested by the opposition to eliminate double voting and to prevent cases of voting on behalf of emigrants from the country.

During Albania’s 2021 election, fingerprint biometric technology for voter identification was provided by Innovatrics, while votes were cast on Smartmatic machines. The fingerprints were then deduplicated to check for possible double-voting with Innovatrics’ Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS).

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