Bolivia: Building a biometric voter registry in record time

In 2009, the Congress of Bolivia approved a new law that mandated the use of a biometric voter database to improve election integrity. To comply with this new legal framework, election authorities needed to register millions of voters in only three months. NEC Argentina, hired by Bolivian authorities to oversee the creation of the new voter database, partnered with Smartmatic.

Using our portable technology to capture voter’s biometric and biographic data, authorities covered the entire country registering 5 million people in 75 days. The voter database, which now included rural population from the most remote regions in Bolivia, led to more inclusive election processes.

In the election that followed the registration drive, female participation rose 10%. Four years later, women became a majority in the lower house of Congress for the first time. The biometric database also contributed to increase trust in the voting process and the election results.

Technology

For this project Smartmatic provided a cutting-edge Biometric Registration and Production Management software and set up and delivered 3,000 PARkits to the National Electoral Court. A PARkit is an electronic biometric registration unit designed by Smartmatic to support the capture of bolivians's identity in 2009.

The PARkits used in this project included:

  • Laptop computer
  • Signature pad
  • Printers
  • Document scanner
  • Voltage regulator
  • Laptop computer
  • Signature pad
  • Document scanner
  • Voltage regulator

Services

Smartmatic also provided logistics and support services to execute the project, namely:

  • Configuration and distribution of the registration Stations
  • Setting up and management of the National Support Center
  • Technical support on the field, on a national level
  • Integral support for the registration of Bolivians abroad
  • Personnel management and training services
  • Peripherals for the Voter Registration Kits

In its observation mission final report The Carter Center, noted “the biometric registration was conducted in a peaceful environment, characterised by high levels of citizen participation”.