National elections were held in Kenya on March 4th putting into place a new biometric voter registration technology, aiming to prevent falsification of ballots. The country’s last election falsification of voter registration led to 1.2 million votes cast by people actually deceased. The technology, which uses photographs and fingerprinting to identify voters, was created and sold to Kenya by the Canadian government for a total cost of US $7.2 million.
Technical problems the day of the election caused a shift to the manual system in some areas, including Samburu North ward. Electoral commission chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan reported to AllAfrica: “We have been forced to call off elections in these areas because of mix up in the ballot papers. In some cases we have missing names of candidates while in other cases names have been interchanged.” Associated Press reported that more than 325,000 ballots were recorded as spoiled.
Contacts on the ground in Kenya reported to Cultural Survival:
“The highly rated and well advertised biometric voter register which cost the Kenyan public kshs 9 billion was never used, exposing the election process to a lot of malpractices especially on the illiterate voters. The presiding officers took advantage of these communities to mark ballot papers in favor of their friends or those who bribed them…in Laikipia North, there was massive rigging at all levels.”
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