20 June 2014

Tanzania to Conduct Biometric Voter Registration

Tanzania's National Electoral Commission (NEC) is embarking on a plan to register voters nationwide using new biometric voter registration equipment, Tanzania's The Guardian reported Friday (June 20th).

NEC Chairman Damian Lubuva said the new technology would help address past election challenges including double registration, transferring registrations from one place to another and accurately identifying voters.

"All voters in the permanent register will be re-registered, but the exercise will also include the registration of new eligible voters," Lubuva told journalists in Dar es Salaam, adding that new identity cards will be issued rendering old ones invalid.

He said the changes will be implemented between August and September, ahead of the 2015 general election and referendum for the new constitution. The exercise is expected to cost 298 billion shillings ($177 million).

The announcement comes a month after the United Nations Development Programme offered its assistance to Tanzania to upgrade the voter registration system to incorporate biometric technology, after complaints that many unregistered Tanzanians were barred from voting.

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