Biometrics Enhance Election Integrity in Albania
Albania emerged as a fledgling democracy in the 1990s. The transition, however, proved challenging on many fronts. But Albania has since made progress in its democratic development, particularly in the last decade. In 2009, the Republic of Albania joined NATO.
International observers judged the country’s multiparty elections during the last 15 years to be largely free and fair. In 2014 it became a candidate to join the European Union. With eyes on this prize, the country has continued to improve its election process. Albania looked to further improve its election integrity as it moved toward its Parliamentary election in April 2021.
One of the initial steps in this effort was to amend the country’s legal framework to enable biometric voter verification in polling places. This was accomplished in 2020. With an eye toward elections further into the future, the Central Election Commission (CEC) also decided to offer electronic voting at a limited number of sites in the capital Tirana. In an open bid process, the CEC selected Smartmatic to provide hardware, software and support services for both deployments.
Smartmatic was the only company that could complete a four-month implementation for the voter authentication and a six-week installation for the voting pilot.