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.