Biometric Authentication Of Voters And Voting Process: A Study Of Senatorial Election

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Biometric Authentication Of Voters And Voting Process: A Study Of Senatorial Election


Over the last quarter century, many developing countries have turned towards electoral politics. Democracy indicators for Sub-Saharan Africa made substantial gains after 1990 at the end of the Cold War. At the same time, political rights and civil liberties have mostly remained stuck around the middle of the scale. Even if they have implemented multi-party elections, many countries have not transitioned fully towards liberal democracies.

Elections have often been far from free and fair and their results have frequently been disputed, sometimes violently and at heavy cost to lives and the economy. Nigeria is not far fetch, in the Nigerian case, the truth remains that the electoral process is hugely characterized by a culture of electoral malpractices like rigging, ballot box snatching, vote buying by politicians etc. this study looked at the biometric authentication of voters and the voting process and how it affects the 2019 senatorial elections in Nigeria.

The elections were adjudged as one the best due to the deployment of the biometric authentication in the general elections. We found out that this increased voter confidence in the voting process which led to the reduction in the eruption of violence.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Previously, voting for general and local elections is done by electors with voting papers and voting boxes in which the voting papers are placed. This method reveals some kinds of negative situations. Not been able to determine which party the stamp belongs to, the probability of placing the voting papers in wrong box, problems with counting the votes, loss of time when there happens to be some objections, paper printing and expenditures done for personel are some of the disadvatages of classical election system. The secret ballot is a fundamental instrument for protecting the freedom of choice of voters. For this reason, it is necessary to use new technologies for making the election system more trustable, economic and faster.

Electronic election system is set into use in some countries, especially in USA and Europe, at the beginning of nineties as a result of innovating technology and it became more trustable by improving itself at the present day. Electronic voting is an activity of realising the voting in electronic environment. Electronic election is a system which enables fast counting by electronic voting.

Electronic voting is used in some countries in the world and there are also studies about it (Babu and Padmavathamma, 2006; El-qawasmeh and Owais, 2010;

Folorunso et al., 2005; Hajjar et al., 2006). Electronic voting is used for parliamentary elections in Australia in 2001 (Schoen and Faas, 2005), for student union elections in Austria in 2003 (Prosser et al., 2003), for municipal elections in Canada in 2003 (Nakhaie, 2006), for both general and local elections in India in 2003 (Gorla, 2009). As a result of developments on information technologies in recent years, public opinion polls and nation-wide general elections will be realized faster and more effectively on electronic environment.

Nowadays, security problems are experienced with the fast developing technology. Besides developing the system, there are also so many studies and new methods for solving the security problems of the developing system. As a result of developing technology, individual password is started to be used to meet the security requirements. In time, new methods are developed and card technologies are used due to closing the security holes about burglary of the cards or forgetting the individual passwords. Usage of the ID cards and Private Identification Numbers (PIN) become widespread at card technologies (Sonkamble et al., 2010; Alkan and Bulut, 2010). Researches on security and identification operations according to physical characteristics are realized due to limitations of this technology in time.

Biometric systems are the methods which make identification of people according to their physical characteristics. Biometric methods consist of fingerprint, face, hand shape, retina, iris, and voice track methods (Sonkamble et al., 2010; Kadry and Smaili, 2010; Razzak et al., 2010). These methods may be used alone or together in the developed systems.

Fingerprint recognition method and ID system in biometric methods are frequently preferred because applications of them are easy and low-cost (Maltoni et al., 2009). Fingerprint recognition system is the leading method because everyone has different fingerprints, can not be changed easily and probability of loosing, forgeting and stealing of it is impossible. Besides, every finger has distinctive characteristics because fingerprints of every finger of a person are different (Altun et al., 2008).

For this reason, fingerprint method is used mostly alone or together with other biometric methods for providing security of the systems. Fingerprint method is also used for identification of the internet applications.

In this study, biometric authentication system is aimed instead of traditional election systems. By developing the deficiencies of the present system, biometric based election system has been developed.

Voting theory formally began in the 18th century and ever since, many proposal has been made towards using electronic technologies to improve elections (Sobia, Ummer, Ayesha, Usman, and Hassan, 2011). One of the essential features of democracy is Election, democracy encourages individual’s freedom with respect to the rule of law, so that individuals can express their opinion the way they wish, giving individuals the opportunity to decide their leaders, and uninhibitedly express their feelings on issues. Because of the All-inclusive Affirmation of Human Rights in the year 1948 that puts import on compelling circumstance of free elections, countries focused on an improved and new voting process that are of significance to the election processes in the 21st century (Salomonsen, 2005).

Election is the process that enables individuals to choose their delegates and express their fellings on the way they will be administered (Kohno, Rubin, Stubblefield & Wallach, 2003), (Malkawi, Khasawneh& Al-Jarrah, 2009) and (Ashok &Ummal, 2011).

Nigerian election process has been done manually (voting for local and general elections done by electors with ballot papers and ballot boxes in which the papers are placed) since returned to democratic rule in the year 1999, the manual voting process was associated with a lot of problems and always resulted to post-election violence (Yekini, Oyeyinka, Oludipe&Lawal, 2012).

In the Federal republic of Nigeria, voting system is of two main categories, Manual Voting System (MVS) and Electronic Voting System (EVS).

The Manual Voting System (MVS) involves presenting eligible citizen with a list of contestants on a paper called ballot paper, to mark against their favorite contestants and place the ballot paper in a box called ballot box, this system of voting is used for senatorial and governorship election processes in the country. Manual voting system has some disadvantages, which include possibility of placing the ballot paper in the wrong ballot box, votes counting problem, loss of time when there happens to be some objections, paper printing and expenditures done for personnel, for these reasons, it is necessary to use the new technologies to make the election system faster, economic and trustable because the trust that every vote will be tallied and recorded correctly is the foundation of a genuine democracy (Ademand&Metin, 2011).

The Electronic Voting System (EVS) involves presenting eligible citizen with a list of contestants on a computer, to select against their favorite contestants, this system of voting is used for presidential election in the country. The improvement of information and communications technologies has allow for a completely computerised election process whereby counting of vote are carried out in real time, that the results are automatically out by the end of elections day (Rubin, 2002).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

With advances in information and communication technology, issue of security has gone far beyond ordinary password usage. This project sought to describe the biometric authentication system, as an improved solution to the existing voting system of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The existing system is however subjected to possible loss of card, failure to card verification, and unguaranteed voter’s presence at the point and time of election. Furthermore, the EVS existing system is used for the presidential election, while manual voting system of ballot paper and ballot box is used for senatorial and governorship elections.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this project is to improve understanding of biometric technologies among key electoral stakeholders in Nigeria during the senatorial elections, especially the independent national electoral commission, governments and decision-making bodies, and civil society, including voters and to investigate the biometrics authentication during the voting process in the senatorial elections.

With the following objectives

  1. To review the voting process in Nigeria
  2. To review the biometric authentication system
  3. To investigate if the biometric systems increased the credibility of the senatorial elections in Nigeria.
  4. To investigate the challenges of the biometric technology

1.4 Research Hypotheses

Hypotheses one
  • Ho: there were no biometric technology challenges during the senatorial election
  • Hi: there were biometric technology challenges during the senatorial election
Hypotheses Two
  • Ho: biometric systems do not increase the credibility of the senatorial elections
  • Hi: biometric systems increased the credibility of the senatorial elections

1.5 Significance of the Study

The drive towards biometrics has been facilitated by its largely apolitical nature. In many cases, there is broad agreement on the need for its application; many countries are now adopting biometric technology in the conduct of important elections. This study is so important because it touches elections which are the heart of the democracy in Nigeria and how the biometric authentication works and increases the integrity of elections in Nigeria. We hope that this project will act as a useful resource for INEC authorities considering introducing biometric technologies in elections, and as a motivation for improvement.

1.6 Scope and Limitations

This project is purposely designed for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) election in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to overcome the problem of illegal activities during election, by making sure only eligible voters have access to the system, immediately outputting the results of the election, and ensuring that voters have trust in the process of election. However, this system can be extended to other electoral system with little or no modifications.

These constraints include but are not limited to the following.

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

1.7 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to have a critical analysis biometric authentication of voters and voting process, a case study of the senatorial election.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations are made, which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefit in addressing the challenges of vocational education and career decision.

5.2 Summary

This study aimed at havinga critical analysis of impact of vocational education on career decision among senior secondary school students. Three objectives were raised to guide the study. These objectives include:To review the voting process in Nigeria, to review the biometric authentication system, to investigate if the biometric systems increased the credibility of the senatorial elections in Nigeria, to investigate the challenges of the biometric technology

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the above findings pertaining to the objectives of the study the following conclusions are drawn.

The voting process in Nigeria is still highly flawed, despite the introduction of Biometric capturing and authentication. The flaws in the senatorial elections were not just caused by the failure of the gadgets used in the authentication of voters, but also caused by a deliberate attempt by corrupt politicians to rig elections to their favour.

5.4 Recommendation

It is therefore recommended from the conclusion drawn above that;

  1. Ad-hoc staff should be properly trained in the use of the gadgets used in voters’ authentication
  2. There is need to test all gadgets to ensure they are functioning properly before their use
  3. INEC should ensure politicians are not interfering in the voting process
  4. Those found to be involved in electing rigging and vote buying should be severely punished, to serve as a detriment to others who intend to do same in subsequent elections.

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