First Time in Pakistan: ECP Holds Election with Biometric Verification of Voters

Election Commission of Pakistan, in collaboration with NADRA and cellular operators, successfully conducted the country’s first ever election in NA 19 for a constituency in Haripur district through biometric verification of voters.

With biometric re-verification of voters, individuals were allowed to cast their votes only after biometric verification to ensure that a voter was indeed a legit person to cast a vote at a specific polling station.

NADRA is said to be the body that was responsible for all the arrangements and back-end technical facilities for the biometric verification of voters.

NADRA said that this biometric verification process for voters in an election was a pilot project, where 30 polling stations with some 30,000 registered voters out of 794 total polling stations in the constituency were equipped with biometric verification system.

It said that the whole purpose for this pilot test was to test the abilities, efficiency, capacity, outcome and viability of biometric verification system. Depending on the outcome, this biometric verification of voters could be deployed in next general elections.

Technical details:

As we saw the biometric re-verification of SIMs across Pakistan, the entire voter verification process took around 10 secs to complete. NADRA, as one may assume, was providing backend bio-metric verification services using GSM operators, where voters had to provide their thumb impression on biometric devices (deployed by cellular companies).

If a thumb impression was verified against a CNIC, the voter was allowed to cast his/her vote.

NADRA said that it currently has the capacity of verifying 3.5 million persons in a day or (or approximately 150,000 per hour or almost 42 verifications per second). It said that this capacity can be increased to any scale as its just matter of adding more servers and bandwidth to the system.

Election Commission of Pakistan along with telecommunication partner provided the front-end services which includes hardware such as biometric readers and telecommunication network (3G) for transmitting the data.

Is Biometric Verification of Voters a Solution?

We all are aware about rigging allegations against 2013 general election. So if you are wondering whether biometric verification of voters will eliminate rigging, then unfortunately that’s not the case.

Biometric re-verification of voters will only help the polling station staff in determining the legitimacy of a voter. Which will eliminate half of the chances for rigging, however, if polling station staff is involved and motivated to allow unverified voters to cast a vote, or even worse if they allow multiple votes from a single person than biometric re-verifiction can’t do a thing.

We will have to see how the biometric verification of voter system is perceived and even if its viable for large scale, country wide deployment or not.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • voting should be held on voting machines with redundancy and encrypted data backups. Cut the paper crap. Thumb verification is not electronic voting. Cut the paper crap. Are you listening Nadra/EC nexus?

    • Fully agreed. Thumb verification is not electronic voting. No half baked concoction please, Cut the paper crap. and go for full machine voting. If we can draw money from ATM machine why can’t we safely vote through a machine?

    • oh my God. I totally misunderstood the article and was under the impression that they actually used electronic voting and not just thumb verification! What a load of crap!

  • you can add additional features in the biometric system to count the exact number of authenticated votes cast in a constituency.I believe, In this way we could avert rigging in the election

    • System acha hona chahiye, hum Imran khan k liye nhi, balkay mulk mein shifaf election k liye chahtay hain,

      P.S: I’m not PTI/PMLN supporter.

    • Lagta hai Imran Khan ne apki sahih maari hai jiski wajha se jidher dekho, aap Imran Khan ko le karr mahool main ta’afun phailatay hain. Imran Khan elections main nahin khara ho raha. Uski koi value nahin hai kisi ke liyay, uske apne voters /supporters afsos karr rahay hain aur tahayya karr chukay hain ke kabhi usay dobara vote nahin dain gey. Aap hain ke unse hatt hi nahin chuk rahay.

      Please get over him! Stop being so obsessed by the douchebag!

      • wese pehli line apki baton sy ap py ziada fit ati hai or nechy b apne apna dukhra bayan kiya hai
        rahi baat mere comment ki to apke ghar sy nahi khata jitna marzi bolun

        • Maine na to apke comment pe comment kiya, na maine yeh kaha ke main zakat apke ghar bhijwata hoon. Stop being obsessed with your ex-lover IK.. get over him! Maine kaheen bhi apni koi problem nahin bayaan ki, faqat itna arz kiya ke aap imran khan ko apne dil o dimagh se bahar nikaal dain, aur hum sub ko unki existence se arasta karwana band karr dain.

    • InshAllah jeetay ga Imran khan ap jese log Nawaz shareef ko vote krteh hoh jo apneh under gull pomy tony butt aur zafar supari jese self made wadero ko syasi support deta hah phir ap jese logh bhait kar roteh hoh kasur jese waqiyat ko jab tak humareh mulq ka leader parha likha nhi hogah tab tak humareh mulq mein koi educate ni hogah wazeeray alla punjab janab shahbaz sharif ne kya kiya ajj tak taleem key sath kya kabhi socha key course change kiya jaye kya kabhi socha keh matric ka nizaam durust kiya jay axa 8th 5th 9th 10th kay exams ko hype ese di jati hah jese koi oxford kay under exams honeh honh ajj tak Mr chips humari books se ni nikla hum taraki kya kareh gey koi jeetay ya hareh lekin jaahil awam ko chhaiye key jahilo ko vote krke baad mein bijli gass ko na roya kareh agr koi wadera kisi ghareeb ko tawng kareh to na media par roya kareh agr india border par roz humareh Pakistani shaheed kareh to na roya kareh kyu kay shalwar shareef ko india se bohat pyaar hah neche lageh hueh hanh nawaz company waleh india k.

      • yar ap koi boht he khwar lagtay ho muj.
        wese to punjab baqi sab provinces say agay hai bashamool education kay.or rahi baat border ki to wo zimedari fouj ki ha nawaz ny nhi larna border py.
        or akhri bat k jesa k imran khan ny kaha k mulk main tabdeli agae ha dharny sy or usne awam ko jaga dia ha or yehi uska maqsad tha to apko btata chalun k ys tabdeli k bad sy 6 election hue hain or pti sab haar gae mazeed rona or propaganda chor do ab

  • Good initiative. We need to further improve this system to cast electronic votes as well. This will reduce the paper, ink etc. and also reduce the chances of multiple votes by single person. Besides all this Nadra should improve its hardware resources and infrastructure to give maximum TPS.

    • Arsalan ahmad ,

      Each and every person has their own opinion so requested that don’t use Molesting language please , surly it shows your own personality and value.

      Further more , good step taken up regarding casting votes.

  • We are not concerned who wins. Taking names in this discussion is waste of time and sidelining the main issue.The only issue here is to achieve transparency in vote casting.which is the right of every citizen of Pakistan. If India can do it successfully, why not Pakistan. Pakistan is more advanced in commercial transactions , even phone banking than India. Consider easy Paisa and others.If cash can change hands safely and honestly, why not a person’s vote reaches its destination rightly.

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