elections, Kenya, vote, voter

Kenya botches biometric election

The consensus view seems to be that Kenya really dropped the ball on integrating biometrics into its voter ID process. The few following examples should provide sufficient illustration, especially the item from the Turkish Weekly where a member of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission acknowledges  the failure of the biometric system.

Then the biometric identification kits started to crash. (NPR)
“Then we have to look at why our biometric voter identification system did not work…” (Turkish Weekly)
“The Biometric Voter Registration also failed.” (All Africa)

A partially dissenting view is here: Kenya polls: A Ugandan eye-witness’ account.

Who could have seen that coming? Well, anyone who paid attention to the procurement process, that’s who.

For review see:
JULY 17, 2012 – Kenya: Procurement for Biometric Voter System Gets Messy
AUGUST 9, 2012 – Strange Things Afoot in Kenya Biometric Voter Registration Procurement
AUGUST 31, 2012 – Kenya Biometric Election Registration Update

It became clear last summer that little would be allowed to stand in the way of spending large sums of money: not laws governing the timing of voter registration and elections; not stated procurement processes; not offers of free equipment; and not the technical and organizational inability to execute on election day.

The bad news is it looks like that ordinary Kenyans, who deserve better, didn’t get much for the money borrowed from Canada. Inevitably, some will use the occasion to discredit biometric voter ID in elections in general. That would be unfortunate, too.

The good news is that, at least so far, there has been no replay of the violence that took place following the last Kenyan national elections in 2007. We hope that continues to be true.

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