“…the successful use of iris recognition for voter registration can be seen as a means of building trust, not just among citizens but in the wider international community.”
Somaliland has just become the first state in the world to use iris recognition in a presidential election.
The election took place on November 13th, after numerous delays pertaining to political controversies and a sever drought. It involved a voter registration process based on iris recognition, with biometric technology provided by Iris ID. International observers reported that the technology appeared to work well in an assessment published in 2016, and observers with the Somaliland Non-State Actors Forum (SONSAF) and the International Election Observer Mission have suggested that the November 13th election was generally free and fair.
The use of the iris recognition technology was seen by many as an important means of demonstrating that Somaliland is a functional and democratic state. Despite having maintained strong state institutions since its breakaway from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland remains unrecognized by the United Nations, and serious issues were discovered in local council elections held in 2012; thus the successful use of iris recognition for voter registration can be seen as a means of building trust, not just among citizens but in the wider international community.