UNDP Experts Deem Latest Biometric Voter Registration Software a SuccessApr 17, 2014
Sana'a, as part of the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) technical experts under the Multi-Donors Basket Fund (MDBF) and the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) judges huddled late into the night around the commission’s meeting room throughout this week, testing the latest software version for the Biometric Voter Registration kits set to be used in the nation’s largest registration drive.
UNDP's and Donors Support to the Elections during the Transitional Period Project (SETP) technical experts deemed the Software Acceptance Test a resounding success on Thursday 17 April 2014, lauding the latest version of the software as one of the most advanced and technically responsive systems required for Biometric Voter Registration globally. The system is now in the hands of the SCER to finalize other preparations for the Biometric Voter Registration drive.
“These tests have successfully signaled the end of the contractual software design development phase for this technically-intensive project, and will allow the SCER to begin the process of carrying out its own tests, registration simulations, and management of the labor-intensive process of a revised voter register,” said Mikiko Tanaka, UNDP-Yemen Country Director. “This is an important step, and a crucial milestone, that UNDP has been supporting to bring about a new voter consciousness in Yemen and instill a sense of renewed civic purpose.”
The core systems that make three kits run were tested against an elaborate marathon of checklists as judges listened to experts’ latest updates on the registration software.
As a lead up to a pilot program of Yemen’s Biometric Voter Registration, scheduled to take place in May a single district in Sana’a, UNDP and the SCER has intensified their planning and strategies in order to meet the requirements for a real world test. Technical teams in Tunis, France, and Yemen, as well as experts from Bosnia, Tunisia, US, Palestine, Egypt, Ireland and Spain, as well as the SCER, will start the pilot and register citizens in order to map out potential challenges to the new and improved Biometric Voter Registry.
Envisioned to take the entire month of May, the pilot will lay the groundwork for the eventual rollout of the registration period that will cover all of the nation’s 23 governorates. This comes after almost a year of strategic planning that required numerous tests, designs and missions in and out of the country to formulate what will be the first Biometric Voter Registration system implemented in an Arab country on this scale.
“We are working hand-in-hand with Yemen’s election commission to oversee the rollout of the Biometric Voter Registration project during this challenging and hope-filled transitional Period” said Paolo Lembo, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Yemen. “UNDP will continue to support the SCER as it continues to meet the goals of the transitional period, by revising and updating its voter registry.”
UNDP purchased the Biometric Voter Registration kits, a combination of computers, two-finger scanners, and advanced cameras, by utilizing the eight-donor Multi-Donor Basket Fund. UNDP similarly provided the software that will empower operators working in conjunction with the SCER to turn a highly politicized process of the registry into a more technical and transparent system.