Biometric technology takes centre stage in guaranteeing credible national elections

In today’s digital world, biometric technology has become a non-negotiable in various sectors. It offers accurate identity verification and security since biometric traits such as fingerprints, retina patterns, and facial features are unique to each individual and can’t be replicated. The use case for facilitating free and fair elections is clear.

Counting the benefits of digitising national elections

With the growing use of biometrics to accurately verify people’s identities, let’s explore how it can improve the efficiency and credibility of the election process.

Accurate identification and verification of voters

Many developing nations use only fingerprints to register and verify voters. While biometrics are unique to every individual, using only one method opens the process to voter fraud. Using multimodal biometric technology, such as fingerprint and facial recognition, helps accurately identify constituents and verify that they are who they say they are.

Laxton digital identity systems include fingerprint scanners with live fingerprint detection technology, iris scanners, high-res cameras and other components for accurate data capture. Captured information is sent to a centralised database, securely stored and protected from outside intervention.

Verifying a person’s identity using more than one type of biometric data makes the election process more secure and transparent. One registered voter casting only one vote results in the most credible result and a free democratic process.

Improved voter turnout

Using biometrics can also increase voter turnout among marginalised and under-represented communities. Digital identity technology can make voting more accessible, secure, and efficient. It is customisable to be mobile and taken to enrol eligible voters, no matter how remote their location is.

The ease of registering to vote and casting their vote on the day encourages more people to exercise their right to choose their government. Laxton’s voter enrolment and verification system, implemented for Tanzania’s National Elections in 2015, resulted in an unprecedented 96% of eligible voters registered. Our customised Biometric registration Kits (BRKs) make any location a Voter Registration Office.

BRKs are made to every country’s specifications and to overcome their unique challenges. They work online or offline, with battery and solar power, ideal for areas with limited infrastructure. This guarantees a more inclusive national election, with every eligible citizen being given the opportunity to vote.

Cost-effective and timesaving

By leveraging biometric technology, the electoral process can become more efficient and cost-effective. By integrating identity technology with a comprehensive Election Management Solution, Laxton can accelerate the voter enrolment and verification process on voting day.

The intuitive identity enrolment technology allows Electoral Officers to capture voter biometrics, image and other information in as little as three minutes. Chameleon Handhelds quickly and accurately verify the identity of every voter, significantly reducing long queues and wait times at registration locations and polling stations. It also requires fewer officials to be on duty during both phases of holding elections.

While the cost of running elections was increasing in other parts of the world, Laxton successfully executed a full-service election solution that resulted in a 41% reduction in the cost of conducting the Tanzania National elections.

Reduced incidences of electoral fraud

Electoral fraud is a serious concern in many countries, with vote rigging, ballot stuffing, and impersonation cases. Using biometric technology can help reduce this by creating a credible centralised Voter’s Roll at the enrolment phase. Secure identity software ensures that data is safely stored, protected from hackers and automatically de-duplicated to eliminate false or duplicated registrations.

Laxton Biometric Registration Kits and verification devices are linked to a secure, central digital voter register created during enrolment. Electoral Officers are provided with rugged identification devices connected to the central database on election day. The device can quickly scan Voter IDs and fingerprints to ensure that a voter is registered and has not cast their ballot in another location.

Accurately verifying voters at the polling stations guarantees that everyone can only vote once by identifying duplicate registrations or forged documentation. The election outcome is, therefore, more credible and a true reflection of the citizens’ choice of leadership.

Enhanced trust in the election process

Moving from a manual voting process to the latest multimodal biometric technology enhances trust in the election process by increasing transparency and reducing the chances of fraud. The identity of every constituent can be verified via biometric data, confirming their eligibility to vote.

Vote counting is done electronically, leaving less room for error or fraud. When voters are confident that their votes will be counted accurately, they are more likely to trust the process and participate in future elections.

Countries using secure digital identity solutions to manage their election process have reaped all these rewards. The benefits extend well beyond presidential elections, as centralised digital identity databases improve government service delivery and give citizens access to opportunities they were previously excluded from.