Data protection and confidentiality to ensure reliable processes in the organisation of democratic elections
Zetes provides solutions and services for the following critical requirements of modern elections:
- Biometric Voter Registration
- Creation and deduplication of Voter Lists
- Voter Identification and Verification
- Electronic Voting.
The organisation of elections is a prerequisite of any modern democracy. Today, all electoral processes are scrutinised under the media spotlight and assessed by international observers. The integrity of the entire process is widely recognised as conferring the legitimacy of a government, both amongst its own citizens and in the eyes of the wider international community. However, to ensure that elections can run smoothly and in order to respect the founding democratic principles of “one man, one vote” and voter anonymity; clear processes, supported by state-of-the-art technology, need to be put in place. Zetes offers a complete range of solutions allowing authorities to ensure citizen data is unequivocal, voters are correctly identified and that each citizen can anonymously cast a single vote.
BIOMETRIC VOTER REGISTRATION
The first step for any successful election is to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to register. For countries without a central population register in particular, this can be a daunting challenge. Zetes provides a variety of solutions for large-scale voter registration, the most notable of which is based on a mobile biometric enrolment kit. The use of biometrics, usually fingerprints, eliminates the risk of “phantom voters” and helps cleanse a voter list of voters who have registered more than once.
Zetes’ enrolment kits have been used successfully in developing countries for the registration of tens of millions voters within just a few months. Zetes has the production capacity and logistical expertise to design, deliver and deploy tens of thousands of kits in very short delivery times. From a logistics perspective, it is necessary to ensure enrolment kits are delivered correctly to every district and also that technical problems can be resolved quickly by technical support teams all over the country. Equally important, Zetes has the ability to train the tens of thousands of enrolment operators needed to deploy kits throughout a country.
CREATION OF VOTER LISTS
Zetes also provides the software and infrastructure for consolidating registered information in a reliable voter list. Registration data is collected and vetted according to a strict vetting procedure to ensure that every voter is only registered once in the final voter list.
The vetting process also cross checks biographic information for every registered person and uses biometric modalities, for example fingerprint, face or iris, to eliminate multiple registration attempts by the same person. The central biometric system is referred to as the ‘ABIS’ or Automated Biometric Identification System.
Voter cards are used to identify registered voters at polling stations. These cards can either be issued immediately upon registration (local printing and immediate issuance) or distributed later on, after the vetting and creation of a national voter list (central printing and deferred issuance).
On election day, the biometric database and/or voter cards are used to double check each voter’s identity and voting eligibility. The end goal is twofold: to ensure that only duly registered voters are allowed access to the polling station and equally importantly, that citizens are never wrongfully denied their right to vote. National Electoral Committees require a reliable solution able to link each voter with previously registered information. Here, the voter’s identity and right to vote is checked by means of biometric matching and/or validation of a voter card.
The biometric data can either be stored on the voter card in the form of a 2D barcode or stored in an embedded chip. Alternatively, biometric data is stored in a small database containing the biometric data of all voters registered with a specific polling station. Voter verification can be completed in two ways:
- Scenario 1: Voter verification with a voter card (credential):
The voter card is scanned and the voter’s fingerprint or iris is captured and matched against the biometric reference data stored either on the voter card or in a local database using the voter registration number on the card as the search key. . The voter card number is also compared against the list of registered voters for that polling station or constituency.
- Scenario 2: Voter verification without a voter card:
In this scenario voters are not identified by means of the registration number printed on their card. Instead, the voter’s identity is verified by matching the voter’s iris or fingerprints against a small database of registered voters using a handheld device or the polling station supervisor’s laptop. If a match is found and the voter is identified, they are allowed to vote.
The data encoded in the 2D barcode on the card includes a cryptographic signature used to validate the integrity and authenticity of the 2D barcode. This security check makes the verification process less dependent on the availability of a voter list.
Although the distribution of voter lists and revocation lists (in printed and digital form) remains important for full proof verification of voters, the verification process can be completed without these lists in case of emergency.
In the last decade, the adoption of electronic voting has increased at an amazing rate. This is because electronic voting allows elections to be organised faster, more efficiently, with higher transparency and at a lower cost. Combining ergonomics with the highest security standards, Zetes has developed a solution based on Secur-eVote, a robust and highly secure voting terminal that allows organisations to overcome the greatest hurdles linked with electronic voting. The flexibility of this solution enables a hybrid form of voting whereby the vote is cast using a computer touch screen but a physical ballot is still printed securely. This form of e-voting is rapidly becoming one of the most popular forms of organising the voting process because it offers the benefit of allowing a voter to physically control his vote whilst retaining the option to perform rapid automated counting.