This year’s election of Oman’s Consultative Assembly, or Majlis al-Shura, will be entirely electronic and will involve biometric identification. The development follows a pilot project conducted in the first phase of the country’s 2011 elections.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Muttrah Election Committee head Hamal al Rashdi characterized the move as a means of making voting more efficient. Voters will be allowed into the polling hall individually and will select a candidate from a list on a screen; then, a ballot will print out to be deposited into a ballot box. While the electronic polling system will reportedly employ biometric authentication for voters, it is not clear at this time to what extent that will come into play or which modalities will be used.
However vague, the plans place Oman on a larger trend as more countries around the world begin to implement biometric polling. The Philippines’ Commission on Elections has been busy getting eligible voters’ biometrics registered in preparation for next year’s election, and Kyrgyzstan recently concluded an election that used biometric polling; meanwhile, the Brazilian government is starting to acquire the biometric technology in anticipation of future biometric polling. With its plans to leap into large-scale biometric voter authentication, Oman is placing itself at the forefront of that curve.
Source: Muscat Daily
October 22, 2015 – by Alex Perala