Biometric voting system is possible


I DON’T trust the Electoral Commission. It always gives excuses about lack of funds and capacity to defer the implementation of the biometric voting system, which most of us have been waiting for so that we can stand for a “real” democratic election where the voter actually determines the outcome and not the “system”. The Electoral Commission has received various proposals to adopt the biometric system to solve their voting problems since
the late 1990s, but they have deliberately not considered them because of their personal and lawyers’ interests. I was involved with one such proposal. We presented the proposal the Electoral Commission last year with the idea that our biometric (fingerprint) system would not require computers, tablets and other sophisticated technologies at polling sites. All that would be required were ballot papers, edible ink and the common roll. Voters just show up and vote. However, they would use their fingerprints to mark the candidates of their choice. When voting is done, all the ballot boxes would be taken to a central location and counted using high speed scanners (similar to photocopy machines) and results would be analysed and displayed within minutes. The good thing about this system is that voting is done quickly. With this system, voters could vote multiple times if they use force, but only one vote would be counted by the system. With this system, the voter will determine the winner, which is the real democracy in our voting system that we’ve been waiting for. It will not be the man with the money or the one with the gun, the police, the corrupt electoral officials or the “system” determining the outcome. Voter registry can be done any time but the important thing is that one person would have voted once in an electorate. I hope Prime Minister James Marape reads this. It is still possible to implement the biometric voting system in next year’s national general elections because there are much cheaper ways to implement it. Don’t listen to the Electoral Commission. The commission seems forever be asking for increased budgets, but have never come up with a solution to our electoral problems. The come up with un-budgeted expenses time and again.  Papua New Guinea has unique problems and we should use appropriate technology to solve them.Why are we waiting and deferring the biometric voting system all the time? Is it because people want to make more money during elections? The other issue which boggles me is that costs seem to be increasing at every election when it should be decreasing. Why is that? Isn’t the Electoral Commission supposed to learn from the past and bringing the costs down?Perhaps the registrar and the Office of the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates should change its focus and assist the Electoral Commission with the integrity of the electoral system as well, especially the voting system which is not democratic at all. The Integrity of Political parties and Candidates Commission’s agenda will not impact people’s lives but the integrity of the voting system will change the political landscape of this country because MPs will start doing what they are supposed to do. Winning will be difficult and only the properly-voted persons will enter Parliament. I can be reached [email protected] for further information on the biometric voting system that I mentioned. The proposed system will be very cheap to implement compared to what is before the Electoral Commission at the moment.

Peter Bire,
Port Moresby