Dear editor,6 situations where electoral frauds can continue despite
adoption of a biometric system
If the biometric system was adopted without the improvement of other aspects
of election administration frauds will continue unabated.
1.Phantom voters may come to vote at a polling station without Opposition’s
polling agents. The compromised polling clerk may just allow the phantom to
come to vote despite the biometric system.
2. Alternatively the phantom may not need to come at all-but the compromised
polling clerks may just vote with the ballots of those who did not turn up
to vote-which can run up to 30-40%. This probably had happened in polling
stations in many interior areas where voting rates are abnormally high;
3. If the electoral rolls involve illegal migrants who had been given Mykad
they can come to as duely registered voters. Then the biometric system won’t
be able to detect any phantoms despite the fact that there are indeed
illegal voters around. A case of massive presence of illegal voters in a
constituency had been identified by a high court judge in the Likas election
petition in 1990′s. The election result was nullified subsequently.
4. The biometric system is only as good as its biometric database. If there
are phantom voters whose data has been used to substitute the ones in the
machine of the polling clerks then the phantoms can walk through and will be
issued a genuine ballot to vote; The polling agents who are not given
another set of the database may not be able to object to the phantoms;
5. If a genuine voter turn up and the compromised polling clerk claimed that
his/her ballot had been cast by someone else-this happened almost in all
elections/by-elections, the genuine voter has no way to refute the claim and
therefore lost his/her vote to a possible phantom!
6. If a genuine voter is deleted from the roll or transferred to far away
polling stations there is nothing that a biometric system can help to
recover the voting right of the genuine voter! How often this happen? By the
thousands in every election if the past experiences are any guide!
There are many more possible situations where election frauds can happen
despite the implementation of a costly biometric system. Notice that there
is some aspect of the election administration/personnel which had been
compromised for the frauds to happen-and this is precise the point that
overall integrity of an election administration is needed for any voter
identification system to work well. By not diversifying the methods of
identification and depend on one or two methods would make the frauds easier
MEO-Net (Malaysian Election Observer – Network)