80% of Fiji Adults Register for Biometric Voter Enrollment In Two Weeks

Close to Half a Million Fijians Register During First Phase of Registration (Republic of Fiji Press Release)

Almost half a million have registered to vote in the first wave of electronic voter registration (EVR) for the 2014 elections. This represents around 80 percent of current eligible domestic voters, with another period of registration to come later in the year, and the first registrations of Fijians living abroad to begin next year.

At the close of the first phase of sixty-one days, 488,734 Fijians registered at Voter Registration Centers (VRCs) that were open in locations across the country.

“This is a great achievement as Fiji moves toward parliamentary elections in 2014,” the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The overwhelming turn-out of the Fijian people is a clear indication of their willingness and commitment to participate in the process of building a better Fiji for all.”

“A Fiji that provides the legal and moral foundation for a common and equal citizenry. Where there is no legal obligation to vote along ethnic lines, but where every Fijian over the age of 18 has an equal vote to cast as they choose.”

I believe there are also other reasons why Fijians have so eagerly adopted biometric voter registration. Because it is secured with biometrics, the voter registration card is being accepted as a credible for of ID by all sorts of government ministries. Can private sector entities be far behind?


The CIA World Factbook estimates Fiji’s population in 2012 at 890,057 and estimates that approximately 29% of the population is younger than fifteen years old. So that’s 489,734 enrollments among the over-fourteen population of around 633,000.

Kenya Biometric Election Registration Update

The Kenya biometric voter initiative is still lurching along…

The big update is that there will be an update.

Kenya: State to Give Voter Kit Update, Says Eugene (The Star – Nairobi via All Africa)

Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa said the update will be made after a stakeholders’ meeting to be held before the end of this week.

He said the tender was expected to be complete “soon as possible” to enable the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission start voter registration in readiness for the next year’s general election. This statement is expected before Friday.

“I can comment about which company will be given the award since its the Canadian who will determine the winner of the tender,” said Wamalwa. Canadian firm, Code Inc, which was involved in the pilot BVR project of 18 constituencies in Kenya before the 2010 referendum is also among those said to be considered for the tender.

I think he means he “can’t comment.” It’s the only way the rest of the sentence makes sense.

See also: Strange Things Afoot in Kenya Biometric Voter Registration Procurement, which ends with this summary chronology…

1. IEBC solicits proposals

2. IEBC narrows list to four providers

3. For whatever reason, IEBC can’t choose among them.

4. IEBC cancels the project foreclosing any recourse to the bidders who followed the IEBC’s instructions.

5. Hilary Clinton offers Kenya free biometric registration kits.

6. IEBC rejects the offer citing (unstated) political implications that would have arisen from such a donation, and a lack of time to complete the process.

7. IEBC makes a request of the Cabinet to acquire biometric registration kits through a government to government arrangement (Ghana, perhaps. UPDATE: It turns out to be Canada).

8. Laws will be changed to ensure that there’s enough time.

9. Vendors scratch heads.

10. Still, nobody is sure where the kits will come from.

Since then, Kenya has received a KES 5.4B interest free loan from Canadian government.

4,600,000,000.00 KES
54,534,677.93 USD
1 KES = 0.0118554 USD
1 USD = 84.3500 KES

The government of Kenya has outsourced all decision making about the procurement to the Canadians, the political implications in point 6 above apparently mitigated.

ARMM, Philippines: Lack of Legal Framework Undermines Biometric Voter Exercise

Doubts raised ARMM can purge voters’ list (Yahoo – Philippines)

In another case of how good management and good technology need to be in the same place at the same time in order to make a real difference, an apparent legal oversight means that the process of disqualifying fraudulent voter registrations in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao is to be so time consuming that it may be impossible to complete before the scheduled elections.

As far as I can tell, the laws governing the biometric voter registration in the ARMM don’t make any provision for rejecting multiple registrations. There also isn’t any mention of it being against the law to register multiple times. Given its electoral history it’s difficult to assume that local authorities can have been surprised by any of this.

The situation in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao stands in stark contrast to Sierra Leone. See Woman Sentenced for Double Voter Registration.

Fiji: Biometric Voter ID Being Used for all Sorts of Transactions

It’s like UID in reverse.

Ministry to accept voter cards as valid ID (Fiji Times)

THE Voter Identification Cards (VIC) issued through the electronic voter registration identification cards will be accepted as a valid form of identification by the Ministry of Justice by November 15.

Any Fijian who has registered to vote and who possesses a VIC will be able to access services provided by the Registrar of Titles Office, the Births, Deaths & Marriages Registry, the Companies Office (which includes the Moneylenders Registry) and the Official Receiver’s Office.

Read the whole thing. You’re half-way there already. By calling it UID in reverse I make no comparison between Fiji & India. Fiji has less than a million people and you can’t walk there from anywhere else. It’s just that, rather than develop one ID that can do everything. Fiji developed an ID for one purpose (elections) that has broad applicability to other ID tasks.


Kenya Biometric Voter Tender: Curiouser & Curiouser

Kenya: Treasury Set to Announce Poll Kit Tender (All Africa)

Treasury is today expected to announce the name of the company that will provide the Biometric Voter Registration kits at a cost of more than Sh3 billion.

I was tempted to quote the next two paragraphs, too, but then I wanted to grab the next two, etc., with no end in site. So, just go read the whole thing. It’s worth it.

To set the scene for the article linked above or for a refresher, read Strange Things Afoot in Kenya Biometric Voter Registration Procurement.

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.

Kenya BVR: Enrollment kits are the easy part

Kenya’s flirtation with electoral biometrics has been in the news a lot lately. That fact has been reflected in the content and analysis hear at the SecurLinx blog (click here).

An often overlooked aspect of large biometric deployments is how small a piece of the overall solution biometric hardware is. The following article does as good a job as any I’ve seen adding context and detail.

BVR Is Unworkable; Its Use In 2013 Will Just Be A Disaster (The Star)

The debate on the Biometric Voter Registration has taken an unfortunate and impractical twist due to misinformation by politicians and the usual busybodies in Kenya. For the Executive and political class to insist that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission must implement BVR six months to elections is to invite disaster.

The issue around BVR at this point is not just about procurement. The main problem around BVR is implementation. BVR is not just a briefcase with sophisticated equipment. It is an integrated information system that comprises hardware, software, data, processes and people. Procurement will only deal with hardware. The devil is in implementing the software and ensuring the information system unlocks the promised benefits. Unfortunately, our politicians have hyped the benefits and created expectations of unrealistic dimensions.

Biometric Voter Register in Gabon 2013

Biometric voters’ list to be used during Gabon’s 2013 local elections (Xinhua)

The vice-chairman of Gemalto company which won the contract to prepare biometric voters’ register, on Wednesday reaffirmed before the government and the Constitutional Court that biometric poll lists will be used during Gabon’s 2013 local elections, an official source has said.

The official statement indicated that the company’s vice- chairman Youzec Kurp had assured the government and the Constitutional Court that all measures had been taken to ensure the biometric voters’ list will be ready on time.

The next presidential elections in Gabon are scheduled for 2016.

Strange Things Afoot in Kenya Biometric Voter Registration Procurement

Following a flurry of activity that included overtures from U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the idea of renting registration kits from Ghana, and an electoral commission reluctant or unable to pick a bid, Kenya seems to be heading toward biometric voter registration for the elections scheduled for March 2013.

In order to move the project forward, two adjustments to the ordinary electoral process have been made.

The law mandating that the electoral register be completed 90 days prior to an election will be changed to allow the electoral commission an extra 45 days to complete its work. (Nairobi Star via All Africa)

The Cabinet yesterday accepted a request by the IEBC to acquire the biometric voter registration kits through a government to government arrangement. The Elections Act will also be amended to allow for the voter register to close 45 days to the polling date of March 4,2013 instead of the stipulated 90 days. These are among the decisions that were made during a meeting held between President Kibaki and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to resolve the crisis surrounding the procurement of the BVR kits which would have seen Kenyans revert to the manual voter registration system.

The amendment in the Elections Act will give the IEBC time to complete voter registration and allow scrutiny of the same and still keep within the elections time table it had drawn up. “The Government agreed to initiate amendments with the Elections Act to reduce the period for closure of the register from 90 days to 45 days so as to allow more time for voter registration,” a statement issued after the meeting read.

The stated procurement process has been thrown out the window. (Capital FM via All Africa)

MPs want Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa to explain the criteria used by the Cabinet to select a Canadian firm to supply Biometric Voter Registration kits ahead of next year’s general election.

Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale said the move amounted to the government taking over the procurement of the BVR kits from the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission.

The commission cancelled the tender for the supply of 9,750 BVR kits on Wednesday following immense public outcry on the manner the tender had been awarded. In announcing the cancellation, the commission said the two lowest bidders did not meet the due diligence requirements while the other two firms who met the due diligence including Symphony Limited, were above budget.

The company, which was second-placed in the tender bid, said it had fallen victim to “unknown intrigues.”

The Indian firm 4G Identity Solutions which had bid the lowest said it would respect the decision by the IEBC to cancel the tender. However, the firm appealed to the commission to rethink the cancellation since it would negatively impact them.

The Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 allows the IEBC to terminate the process before it awards the contract. In such case, the bidders cannot seek court intervention.

Apart from 4G and Symphony of Kenya, other companies shortlisted for the tender were Face Technologies of South Africa and Ontrack Innovations of Israel.

For a summary chronology:

1. IEBC solicits proposals

2. IEBC narrows list to four providers

3. For whatever reason, IEBC can’t choose among them.

4. IEBC cancels the project foreclosing any recourse to the bidders who followed the IEBC’s instructions.

5. Hilary Clinton offers Kenya free biometric registration kits.

6. IEBC rejects the offer citing (unstated) political implications that would have arisen from such a donation, and a lack of time to complete the process.

7. IEBC makes a request of the Cabinet to acquire biometric registration kits through a government to government arrangement (Ghana, perhaps).

8. Laws will be changed to ensure that there’s enough time.

9. Vendors scratch heads.

10. Still, nobody is sure where the kits will come from.

That’s kind of a mess.

Kenya: No Biometric Voter Roll This Time — UPDATE: Declines US Offer of Free Registration Kits

AUG. 3, 2012
It looks to be official. Kenya will not be using biometric ID management techniques in the national elections of March 2013.

Kenya scraps electronic registration plan for vote next year (Reuters)

Kenya’s electoral commission has abandoned plans to introduce an electronic register of voters after the tendering process descended into acrimony, stirring fears among members of parliament that an election next year will be marred by fraud.

Next March’s general election will be the first since a disputed poll in 2007 that triggered a politically-fuelled ethnic slaughter in which more than 1,200 people were killed.

MPs grill IEBC over canceled tender (Capital FM – Nairobi)

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) spent Thursday morning defended its decision to cancel the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) tender and outlining its preparedness for the 2013 General Election.

Appearing before a joint parliamentary committee of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committees, IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan said that two of the shortlisted bidders failed in the due diligence report while the other two quoted above IEBC’s budget.

Hassan, though without further explanation said the decision was made after the process became ‘murky’ and after it was infiltrated by ‘extraneous’ factors.

Now Kenya has to conduct the next years elections the “old fashioned way.” In and of itself, this isn’t a problem. Until a few years ago, everyone that conducted a clean election did it without biometrics. Applied correctly, however, biometrics can make corruption of the electoral process more difficult.

It’s also refreshing, in a way, that the IBCE backed off and admitted that it could not come to a decision on the proper way to implement biometrics in the elections.

A rigorously executed biometric election is a very complex undertaking (and I still think we’re witnessing progress toward a more perfect  implementation template) so early adopters need to have a strategic vision and the managerial acumen to pull it off.

Also, biometric elections are expensive — in our opinion, more expensive than they should be — and it’s hard for government agencies to turn down the opportunity to direct large sums of donated money and even larger amounts of public funds. The IEBC’s decision is all the more striking given Kenya’s perceived level of public corruption (ranked 122nd of 150 countries by worldaudit.org and 154 of 183 by Transparency International).

Nevertheless, the IBCE still has its work cut out for it.

UPDATE AUG. 6, 2012: IEBC Team Rejected Hillary Clinton’s BVR Kit Offer

“The IEBC was concerned that even granted that the political implications were put aside, time constraints would make the operationalisation of the project impossible owing to the limited time left,” said the source.

The Commission on Implementation of the Constitution chairman, Charles Nyachae, confirmed that the issue of BVR featured in the discussions with Clinton. He said he got the impression that the issue had featured in Clinton’s earlier meetings with President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and National Assembly Speaker Marende due to the special emphasis she seemed to have on it.

Biometric voter registration kits are expensive but the the training, voter education, and logistical aspects of a biometric voter registration effort are extremely daunting, too.

See aslo:
Clinton seeks free, fair polls in Kenya (Afriquejet)

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton arrived in Nairobi Saturday for a meeting with Kenyan leaders and sounded Washington’s strongest warning ever that a repeat of the 2007 Presidential vote-related violence would not be tolerated. “We as a partner and friend are hoping that this election, which is complex, goes very smoothly so that everyone is so proud because of what has been achieved,” Clinton said after meeting Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki shortly after arriving in the Kenyan capital on a flight from Entebbe, Uganda.

Interesting Data on Sierra Leone Voter Enrollment

Updates on the electoral process (Sierra Express Media)

To-date, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has issued Two Million Four Hundred and Twenty five Thousand and Twenty Six (2,425,026) Voter ID Cards out of a total of Two Million Six Hundred and Sixty Three Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty Six (2,663,746) printed cards. The difference of two Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand Seven hundred and Twenty (238,720) represents:

♦ Unclaimed cards
♦ Cards not yet collected by Diasporas
♦ 794 duplicates currently being investigated by CID
♦ Correction done during Exhibition

The data obtained from the exhibition process are being consolidated and will be matched with the central Biometric Voter Registration data in Brussels, Belgium. Voter ID Cards will subsequently be printed and distributed nationwide during the last week of August 2012.

That’s impressive!

There’s much more, including the cost of the exercise at the link.

Kenya Elections

ELECTORAL COMMISSION CANCELS BIOMETRIC REGISTER This follows a controversy that emerged after the IEBC failed to award the tender for the Biometric Voter Registration kits to the lowest evaluated bidder.

EDITORIAL: IEBC Must Be Above Reproach


For historical context, the 2008 elections resulted in  violence, misery and destruction.

If Kenya is willing and able to institutionalize clean procurement and clean elections, biometrics can help. If not, they can’t.

Kenya: Govt to Use Manual Voter Listing After Tender Row

More on Ghost Voter Registrants in ARMM

This detailed and wide ranging analysis of the fraud surrounding the voter rolls in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at least ends on an optimistic note.

Expelling banshees (Inquirer News)

ARRM is haunted by phantom students, wraith-teachers, “even ghost schools in ghost barangays,” says Jamar Kulayan, who was appointed January. A Tausug, Kulayan found it had become practice in the region for teachers to bloat student-enrollee numbers.

There are 2,000 teachers in excess of 20,000 officially hired. “Names of teachers already dead, retired, or abroad were still listed.” They and continue drawing their salaries. A “Task Force on Moratorium of Abolition and Creation of Schools” is now operational.

The new final Book of Voters is still ahead. But a consensus on making honest elections the centerpiece of ARMM reforms exists, notes Institute for Autonomy and Governance’s Fr. Eliseo Mercado, OMI… The new technology of biometrics will be used to ensure honest polls.

If this drill succeeds, it’d be a fitting legacy for P-Noy, new ARRM officials and NGOs working to purge lists. Exorcising banshees is a welcome change.

This detailed and wide ranging analysis of the scope the fraud surrounding the voter rolls at least ends on an optimistic note. See: At Least the Kids Can’t Vote Twice in ARMM, Philippines

Fiji Biometric Voter Registration Update

Voter Registration in Fiji one-third of the way to target (Republic of Fiji Press Release)

Fiji’s Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) is now more than one-third of the way to reaching the Government’s target of registering 600,000 Fijians. At the end of the third week of EVR, the total stands at 211,291.

“We are happy that momentum is continuing to grow for voter registration,” the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said. “EVR is now in full stride as we continue to open new registration centers across the country.”

In order to reach the 600,000 mark, an average of 10,000 Fijians a day must register over the course of the 60-day registration period. As of Sunday, July 22, EVR has averaged slightly more than 10,550 a day, a figure that includes totals for the first week when only a limited number of registration centers were open.


Kenya: Procurement for Biometric Voter System Gets Messy

Kenya: IEBC Tender Team Quits Over Biometric Deal (All Africa)

Uncertainty hangs over the process of awarding the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) solution kits contract after the IEBC tender committee stepped aside last week. The team quit following weeks of squabbles pitting some IEBC commissioners against its secretariat and they have been tussling over which firm is the most suitable to be awarded the tender.

The Praxedes Tororey-led committee handed in their resignation on Friday, only days after CEO James Oswago appeared to reject their second report for the multibillion-shilling tender award. Oswago had written to the Public Procurement and Oversight Authority (PPOA) seeking guidance on the recommendation to award the tender to Face Technologies of South Africa that emerged third in cost evaluation.

A discussion of vendors and prices follows.

Is Ghana Doing Biometric Voter Verification on Election Day?

If so, this is the first I’ve heard about it and it’s only mentioned in passing.

EC to procure more verification machines (GhanaWeb)

“Haven gone through the registration which was challenging, the verification definitely will also present its own challenges but we don’t anticipate that the challenges related to the verification will be that difficult,” Samuel Yorke Aidoo said.

Unlike the machines used for the registration process which sometimes broke down, the verification machines, he assured, “is handheld, one machine without any connections so we anticipate that it may not give us that serious challenge…”

He, however, added that the EC is making arrangements to procure backups at electoral and zonal levels so that they can make quick interventions in case there is any breakdown.

Kenya Moving Towards Biometric Voter Register

Kenya: Three Billion Tender Above Board, Says IEBC Boss (All Africa)

IEBC boss Ahmed Issack has admitted the delay in awarding the Biometric Voter Registration tender but denied foul play. Issack, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, chairman said his commission has not been threatened by any donor or vendor on the tender contrary to reports in the Star last week. He said the commission is not turning back on technology although it may not meet the huge expectations. “The regrettable delay in awarding tender and which must be the thing fueling speculation, is as a result of ensuring that due diligence is followed in the entire process,” Issack said in a statement published elsewhere in this paper.

At Least the Kids Can’t Vote Twice in ARMM, Philippines

Biometrics do a good job at telling people apart, but they aren’t any good for determining an individual’s age independent of other reliable database information.

Fraud found in day 1 of Armm voters registration (Sun Star)

It was in Datu Odin Sinsuat that she first noticed the trend — teens below the voting age were in the registration centers accompanied by people claiming to be their parents and herded together by people who, when asked, confirmed to be barangay workers.

Kiram (not his real name) stood outside the classroom at the Taviran Elementary School that had been converted into a voting center. He was clutching three copies of voters registration form and waiting for his turn behind the voter registration machine — a finger scanner and web camera mounted on a computer that ran on special software.

De Villa, who was about to enter the classroom, saw Kiram and immediately asked for his age. He said he was 20 but gave the wrong birth year when pressed. A woman who immediately introduced herself as Kiram’s mother spoke up and said he was indeed 20 and was her third son.

This is the kind of story that causes the anti-biometrics crowd to say, “See I told you this stuff doesn’t prevent fraud in elections.” That’s true, as far as it goes. Nobody should be promising that biometrics prevent fraud in elections.

In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) case, even though biometrics can’t keep individuals that are by law too young to vote off of the voter roles, the ID technology, properly applied, can prevent any person voting multiple times. That’s a good thing.

Biometric systems properly applied can drastically reduce the amount of fraud in elections. In elections, it’s important to ensure that the margin of error (including fraud) is less than the margin of victory. For example: A 1% error (or fraud) rate in one direction doesn’t translate to an electoral advantage in a 60%-40% election but a 5% illicit advantage makes all the difference in a 51%-49% election.

So, by helping to reduce fraud, biometrics can make it less likely that the margin of fraud will exceed the margin of victory in a given election.

Perfect is the enemy of Good. Return on Investment, not perfection, it the relevant metric.

Earlier posts on ARMM:
Philippines: Biometrics a Hot Topic in Autonomous Region
Philippines ARMM: Biometric Voter Registration Underway

Philippines: Biometric Voter Registration Underway Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

Comelec starts voters’ registration in ARMM (Inquirer News)

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said that they have started on Monday the 10-day voters’ registration period for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He told Radyo Inquirer 990AM over an interview that they have finished deploying their registration teams and machines and have started registration at 8 a.m. save for remote islands which will start listing voters a bit later within the day.

APRIL 23, 2012: Philippines: Biometrics a Hot Topic in Autonomous Region