Biometrics Enhance Election Integrity in Albania: Scope and Scale

About 2.8 million citizens reside in Albania, but the country has about 3.6 million registered voters including citizens living in other countries. In its 10th parliamentary election, voters would cast ballots to elect 140 lawmakers from 1,841 candidates. To meet this demand, Smartmatic delivered:

  • 5,538 VIU-818 biometric voter authentication kits
  • Frontend and backend software
  • Consumables, such as thermal paper, smartcards, power banks, and USB memory sticks

The units were used at nearly 3,500 polling places. Smartmatic also constructed and equipped a primary and secondary data center. Simultaneously, Smartmatic recruited and trained more than 400 people to work in Help Desk, field support, and logistics roles, as well as pollworkers for the electronic voting in Tirana.

The electronic voting used 68 Smartmatic A4-517 voting machines in 32 polling places across five different locations in Tirana.

Smartmatic provided warehousing services, equipment configuration, and onsite tech support. Finally, the company worked with the government to create and launch a voter education campaign to explain the new registration and check-in processes to the public.

The deployment was executed in compliance with the following ISO and EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards:

  • ISO 9001:2015 -  Quality Management
  • ISO 27001:2013 - Information Security
  • ISO 14001:2015 - Environmental Management
  • GDPR - Collection, storage, processing and management of personal data throughout the project lifecycle.

Success by All Standards

Officials pegged voter turnout at about 48%, or more than 1.7 million voters, slightly higher than the election four years earlier. Albanian officials, election officials from neighboring countries, and third-party election observation missions dubbed the implementation a success.

“We observed some of these centers and I can say that it was an extraordinary success,” said Valdete Daka, chair of the Central Election Commission in neighboring Kosovo.

"I wish technology would be used more in the next elections," said Azay Guliyev, special coordinator of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission. He went on to say that authentication system reduced the risk of family voting.

Ursula Gacek, head of the mission, said that these elections showed that confidence in the electoral process is continuing to be restored. "Last year's political agreement prompted important reforms and led to the introduction of electronic technology, which served to increase confidence in the electoral process."