Study Finds Defects In Biometric Devices

TOLOnews’ findings show that the biometric devices, which are going to be used for October 20 elections, are different from the units which were shown to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) as samples by government – before signing the contract with a German company, Dermalog.

The IEC has said that 22,000 biometric units have arrived in the country which would be used at 20,053 polling stations across the country on election day.

The newly-arrived biometric devices do not carry the German company’s logo and the power bank and chargers have “made in China” on them.

One party to the contract is the German government as it has more than 20 percent shares in Dermalog. The German government assured the Afghan government before signing the contract that the devices were sound, the TOLOnews study found.

It’s been found that the devices should have been used for the voter registration process so as to record fingerprints as now anyone can be fingerprinted and claim to be someone else.

According to findings, another problem is regarding that of photographs as a photo can be produced opposed to a person’s face being photographed on the day.

Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi, IEC spokesman, said the issue is not serious and that political parties, media and citizens have the right to monitor elections.

“If there are problems in some parts, you have the right based on the law, political parties have the right and media outlets have the right to monitor,” he said.

On the election day, first fingerprints of voters and their pictures will be recorded onto the biometric devices and then the photos on the voters’ IDs and the stickers on the IDs will be recorded by the devices prior to a person voting.

The biometric issue has been a controversial topic for months after the political parties coalition first raised the issue of large-scale fraud committed during the voter registration process.

The IEC has so far trained 2,000 individuals to use the biometric devices. The commission has appointed 110,000 employees for election day – half of whom are women.

The Independent Election Commission said on Wednesday that more than 10,000 biometric units are ready for use and that the process of sending the devices to provinces is underway.

A source told TOLOnews a few weeks ago that the total cost of the biometric devices would be about 15 million euros and the company will send 22,000 units and other necessary equipment to Kabul by October 10.

Electoral monitoring organizations said they are not sure about election transparency by using the biometric devices.

“These devices are not able to identify under-age persons who have registered for voting,” said Yusuf Rasheed, CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.

According to the IEC,so far 53,000 election monitors from political organizations, civil society and representatives of candidates have been issued licenses by the commission to monitor the October 20 polls.


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