Biometric Voter Registration Finally Underway In Tanzania

Biometric Voter Registration Finally Underway In Tanzania

General elections in Tanzania are scheduled to take place October 25, 2015. This time around the country’s electoral commission is presenting voters with foolproof registrations options via biometric voter registration (BVR) kits, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Registration kicked off Monday and will last for one week. Should the BVR kits perform without difficulty, a 7-week registration exercise will follow. Then, National Electoral Commission (NEC) members will travel to different regions registering more voters. This process stands as a testing phase to ensure that the kits actually work as there has been bumps in the road since talks of launching.

“BVR kits we are using sometimes fail to work as it was expected. Our experts are on the field making sure all are going well as planned,” Damian Lubuva, NEC chief told the Anadou Agency. “The government has paid all the money needed to the people who are supposed to bring these kits. We are just waiting for delivery.”

According to the report, BVR was held off in 2014 because of a lack of financial support from the government. Still out of 8,000 BVR kits, the commission has only been provided with 250. Completing the registration exercise with at least 20 million voters will be a difficult task if more kits are not delivered. The remaining kits should arrive next month, the report said.

“It is our obligation to make sure the exercise is carried out as planned to allow Tanzanians to fully participate in the constitution referendum in April and general election in October,” Lubuva said.

Last year when talks of launching the BVR kits began circulating, The Tanzania Daily News reported that the biometric technology would use signatures, fingerprints and facial recognition for voters.

Past conflicts including votes by minors and the dead, in addition to missing voters — who were actually eligible to vote — pushed the commission to implement biometric voter registration. The technology will not be used during the actual voting process.