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Kyrgyzstan to Use Biometric Data in October Polls

Critics of the scheme say their right to vote is now being made conditional on submitting data.
By Aytunuk Nurdinova











When Kyrgyzstan holds its next parliamentary election on October 4 this year, only people who have registered their biometric data with the authorities will be allowed to vote.

Most adults have entered their fingerprints under a system made possible by a law passed last year. Although it is not compulsory to submit biometric data, it is required in order to vote.

Officials say the system will guarantee free and fair polls, ruling out both bureaucratic error and deliberate fraud on election day. Some voters are unhappy about being forced to handover biometric data in exchange for the pre-existing basic right to vote. Others point out the substantial risk that the computerised data will be lost or fall into the wrong hands. The central election commission dismisses those fears, arguing that the data is encoded so that a thief would be unable to view it and misuse it.

Aytunuk Nurdinova is an IWPR contributor in Kyrgyzstan.

This audio programme went out in Russian and Kyrgyz on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan. It was produced under two IWPR projects, Investigative Journalism to Promote Democratic Reform, funded by the European Union; and Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EU or the Norwegian government.  

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