Authorities in Kenya are gearing up for a major biometric election. The country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has launched a month-long effort to get as many eligible voters enrolled as possible ahead of the General Election scheduled for August 8th, with incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition coalition leader Raila Odinga looking to ensure their own supporters are enrolled.
The IEBC’s efforts will see 7,793 biometric registration kits distributed across the country, with the organization hoping to get about six million new voters registered, in addition to the 15.9 million already enrolled. Kenya’s government has previously demonstrated an interest in biometrics for civil applications—it began exploring the idea of a biometric registry for citizens receiving social subsidies in early 2015—and this year’s general election should prove to be a considerable realization of this interest in its use of biometrics for voter authentication.
This use of biometrics is increasingly popular around the world, with Mexican authorities having recently contracted Safran Identity & Security to upgrade that country’s biometric voter authentication system ahead of a general election scheduled for next year. And last month, hack attacks disrupting a major electoral process in Ghana helped to highlight the need for secure voter authentication—and the need to protect voter’ biometric data—as electoral systems increasingly go digital.
January 16, 2017 – by Alex Perala