Colombia promised financial resources in order to implement more accurate voting technologies, seeking to clean up fraudulent voting during upcoming elections.
Cases of fraudulent voting have stained the legitimacy of previous elections, in turn prying open the debate for better control of election registration and voting technologies in the upcoming 2014 Presidential election.
“We have agreed that on this matter there will be no more setbacks and… in 100% of the elections voters are going to use biometric registration, in other words the fingerprint, which gives additional reliability to the electoral process,” assured Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas in a press release Monday.
Colombia’s finance minister promised to commit 2014 budget resources to more accurate voting technologies. He explained that the funding of biometrics will ensure “completely successful elections.” This will be the first election covered by biometric registration.
Colombia has suffered from a history of fraudulent elections, where counting the ballot has been riddled with illegal campaign financing by illicit groups, bribery, and intimidation. In 2011 some 120 investigations were launched against possible scandals surrounding mayoral and gubernatorial elections. In the same year, the National Registry, Colombia’s institutional charged with keeping voter registration clean and tracking clear, reported that some 4 million deceased voters had been discovered and subsequently removed from the registry.
Change from other corners of the government are also afoot. These are the messes that Minister of the Interior Fernando Carillo has promised to help tackle as well. Strengthening the URIEL (Immediate Reaction Unit for Transparent Elections), a task force that responds to voter complaints, is one way the Colombian government hopes to secure the accuracy of the 2014 vote.
To secure Colombia’s upcoming elections means more than just funding biometric technology. It will have to coordinate the new voting system as well. Biometric vote counting has been implemented with some success in Africa, where electoral corruption is rampant. Ghana used biometric recorders for voting in their 2012 elections, precipitating a generally agreed-upon success. Kenya used them this year. But even though transparency increased, biometric readers often broke down or lost battery, causing voters’ tempers to flare and confidence to wallow.
- Listos recursos para realizacion de eleccioens atipacas Cartagena y para las elecciones 2014 (Ministry of Finance)
- Despite some glitches Ghana’s biometric voting system viewed widely as success (Personal Democracy Plus)
- Kenya’s Biometric Voting System: New Solutions, New Problems (Institute for Security Studies)