United States: Happy Election Day!

Today is Election Day in the United States and — as I was reminded upon pulling in at our nearly-empty local parking garage — it’s a state holiday here in the State of West Virginia and also in Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and the territory of Puerto Rico.

While most of us, if we live in a representative democracy, think about election day as happening every so often. Other people are always thinking about elections, not from a partisan or even a political perspective but from the technical and scientific aspects of how to engineer better electoral mechanisms.

The E-Lected blog is the work of one group of people answering the description above. They do good work. Check them out by clicking their logo below.

e-lected blog (a view on electronic voting around the world).

Today they have a timely contribution: Technological solutions to the problems of voter authentication. The closing paragraph is quoted below but it’s well worth reading the whole thing, and if you’re interested in nuts-and-bolts electoral issues, e-lected is worth a regular visit.

As a blog advocating for the implementation of the electronic technologies to strengthen modern democracies, we are convinced that, if a polling station has a reliable electronic poll book with a robust database which includes biographic and biometric information of every eligible voter in, and the voters are authenticated by means of a fingerprint-based biometric device, both problems can be solved and election integrity and legitimacy guaranteed.

Enrollment vs Authentication: Nigeria seems to get it

Nigerians to get permanent voters card soon (Business Day)

“As you know, we did biometric data registration; before the end of this year, we will start issuing the permanent voter’s card, and these permanent voter’s cards that we are going to issue are chip-based, just like many of our own bank cards. So, they carry all the information on a microchip which is embedded in the card of the card,” he said.

“What we believe we can achieve at the minimum by 2015, is that we can achieve 100 percent authentication at the polling units.

Biometric voter registration without biometric voter authentication at the polling place is, at best, a half step toward an optimal biometric voting system.