Nigeria deploys biometric devices for upcoming elections

The deployment, scheduled for the end of the year, aims to enhance the voter accreditation process during the November 11 elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) plans to use 11,355 biometrics-based Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines for three upcoming governorship elections in the country. These machines will be deployed by the end of the year, specifically for the 11 November elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states.

The distribution includes 2,400 devices for Bayelsa, 5,079 for Imo, and 3,876 for Kogi. The number of machines surpasses the count of polling stations in these areas as a precaution to handle potential issues during the voter accreditation process.

INEC introduced these biometric devices during the February and March general elections. Despite some technical problems, these machines were used as evidence in post-election legal disputes.

Why does it matter?

While biometric technology has the potential to reduce electoral fraud, enhance transparency, and increase voter confidence, Yiaga Africa, a civil society organization that observed the general elections, recommended future measures to ensure the BVAS’s integrity and reliability in deployments. In Kenya, accusations of manipulation led to the annulment of the 2017 presidential election, underscoring challenges and doubts surrounding the use of biometric technology in electoral processes. As a growing number of African nations are embracing biometric devices for the registration of voters, it is crucial to ensure that these technologies align with integrity and reliability standards for long-term positive impacts on the democratic process.