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Biometrics and Voting


Click the section you want to read below. Note: Section order is not table entry order.

Biometrics: The United States Needs To Follow The Rest Of The World
Electronic Voting Systems -- eVACS -- Mercuri Method -- Comparison -- Conclusion

A biometric-secure e-voting system for election processes

U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan Collects Biometrics for U.S. Visas February 19, 2004

Biometric Voting In Mozambiques By Face Technologies Using Biometrics and Innovatrics
Brazil's Most Secure Voting Ever
The EURODAC system enables member states to identify asylum seekers
N.H. Lawmakers Reject Broad Restrictions On Biometrics

My Vote is My Voice--Biometrics

Dems spark alarm with call for national ID card

Slave State/New World Order here we come!

Biometric database bill passes first vote


Electronic Voting Systems Telicia M. Chaffin, Mesa State College, 1100 North Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81501, tchaffin@mesastate.edu

http://www.ncsdinc.com/student papers/PAPER03A.doc

[The following are selected excerpts from the target paper the above headline links to.]


Analys        "There is strong evidence that the current e-voting systems are flawed.  In analyzing the commonalities of these system failures, general characteristics for all failures will be established.  The list below depicts systems’ failures that have occurred beginning with the November 2000 election. . . .

  "Reliability, security, usability, and consistency are the most prevalent downfalls in this list.  The list does not include incidents of politicians demanding recounts, attributing fictitious results to faulty electronic machines.  It also does not include all of the voter complaints about hard-to-use electronic machines that would not read ballots and required substantial amounts of time to use resulting in the lines shown on many evening newscasts.   

  "However, the list does not illustrate successes with e-voting systems either. . . .

In November 2004, Nevada had great success with e-voting machines; there were few problems.  They used electronic voting machines, but also had a paper trail as a means to use for a recount if necessary. (“E-voting”, 2006)  These success stories demonstrate the potential for e-voting to be inexpensive and less time consuming to administer.  Eventually e-voting may be a viable solution to increase voter participation in governmental elections as well.  However, if not carefully designed, e-voting systems can be compromised, corrupting results with no method to verify original data, violating voters’ privacy. . . .

Accuracy.  “A system is accurate if (1) it is not possible for a vote to be altered, (2) it is not possible for a validated vote to be eliminated from the final tally, and (3) it is not possible for an invalid vote to be counted in the final tally.”  (Cranor & Cytron, 1996, p.2)  

  "Accuracy is one of the most important factors to any system.  If the input is not correct, then the result will not be correct  . . .

Verifiability.  “A system is verifiable if anyone can independently verify that all votes have been counted correctly.”  (Cranor & Cytron, 1996, p.2) . . .

Democracy.  “A system is democratic if (1) it permits only eligible voters to vote and (2) it ensures that each eligible voter can vote only once.”  (Cranor & Cytron, 1996, p.2) . . .

Privacy.  “A system is private if (1) neither election authorities nor anyone else can link any ballot to the voter who cast it and (2) no voter can prove that he or she voted in a particular way.” (Cranor & Cytron, 1996, p.2) . . .

Convenience.  “A system is convenient if it allows voters to cast their votes quickly, in one session, and with minimal equipment or special skills.” (Cranor & Cytron, 1996, p.3) . . .

Flexibility.  “A system is flexible if it allows a variety of ballot question formats, including open ended questions. Flexibility is important for write-in candidates and some survey questions.” (Cranor & Cytron, 1996, p.3) . . .

Mobility.  “A system is mobile if there are no restrictions (other than logistical ones) on the location from which a voter can cast a vote.”  (Cranor & Cytron, 1996, p.3) . . .

Reliability.  "A system is reliable if it performs and maintains its functions continuously. . . .

Consistency.   "A system is consistent if it operates efficiently at each location, in each situation, and the functions perform exactly as designed. . . .

Social Acceptance.  "A system has social acceptance if it has favorable reception and is perceived as being an effective system by the voting population . . .

“The e-voting system must be perceived as being the best method available for the voting process.”

Standards [The problem with the following first criterion: “nationwide” could be constitutional and a well founded distrust of congressional honesty not to mention federal government inefficiency even beyond general bureaucratic inefficiency.]

  "In addition to these general system characteristics, the system must be implemented nation-wide and with national standards especially for national elections.  Currently we have no national standards because each state and county is fiscally responsible for the purchase of the physical machines and all costs associated with the voting process.  (Mercuri, 2003) . . .  The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is working on Project 1583, which is a description of standards that all voting machines should meet.  The committee includes the top two vendors of electronic voting machines, ES&S and Diebold.  (Grossman, 2004)  . . .   

  "The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates the development and use of standards in the United States.  . . .

  "Society has the available tools necessary to implement a nation wide set of standards for the e-voting system and design.  ANSI and IEEE are excellent examples of organizations that have been successful in creating and distributing standards that have had direct effects on business, economics, technology, and many other areas.  An independent qualification testing method could be implemented for the purpose of creating and testing the physical machines, the voting process, and compliance with national standards. 

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  "The system is called Electronic Voting and Counting System (eVACS).  (Zetter, 2003)  EVACS has two parts:  e-voting and electronic counting.    Each step of the development process for this system was verified with independent election officials.  They used open source software. . . .

  "The voting terminals are PCs connected via a network to a single 'ballot box' machine, which acts as a server for the polling place, recording votes as they are cast and providing information to the terminals when necessary.  The system uses bar code readers to cast each vote and reset the PC.  (Zetter, 2003)  They are not connected to any external network for security, and at the end of polling, the votes are physically transported from the ballot box machine to the counting (back-end) system by duplicate zip disks.  ('Electronic', 2005) 

  "The counting aspect of the system consists of a number of data entry workstations and the counting server. The data entry workstations are used by data entry operators to enter paper(absentee) ballots. These are recorded on the counting machine, which also receives (via zip disks) the electronic ballots. “The counting server is also used to perform some of the administrative functions needed for the system, such as generating the barcodes used for authentication.”  ('Electronic', 2005, p. 2)  Each machine is an exact duplicate of the other.  An audit was performed to search for material weaknessess, but found none.  (Zetter, 2003)

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Mercuri Method

  "On the other end of the spectrum is the Mercuri method.  This model uses voter verified paper ballot (VVPB) extensively for actual counting of votes, but does implement machines for the process of casting votes.  It also allows voters to check the accuracy of their votes.  In the proposed system, a voter votes on a touch-screen machine.  The system records the vote electronically and the paper ballot is displayed behind a glass or plastic panel.  The voter reviews the printed ballot.  If it does not represent the correct choices, the voter calls an election official who voids the ballot.  The voter then votes again, and upon their approval, the ballot is dropped into a ballot box for tallying. Simple procedural controls and digital seals guard the ballot boxes.  Ballots can then be optically scanned for tallying or hand-counted for verification purposes.  (Mercuri, 2002)  Dr. Rebecca Mercuri is a member of IEEE Project 1583. 

  "This model supports proprietary hardware and software.  Companies would have to adhere to stringent standards (IEEE Project 1583) in the building of this system.  Business between companies could be affected because they no longer have any competitive edge for their machines.  The physical polling booths and machines are relatively large making mobility an issue.

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"The following table summarizes the pros and cons of each model and the derived benefits and detriments.


Mecuri Method


·         PCs & Barcode Readers – easy to use, existing and proven technology

  • Server-based – security
  • Two discs – reliability, built in redundancy
  • Counting Machines – fast tabulation of votes
  • Duplicate Machines – quality control, supports reliability



  • VVPB – voter verifiability, audit capability, provide for a recount, reliability, voting process can continue on paper in the event of a power failure
  • Touch screens – easy to use
  • Ballot box - security



  • No paper voter receipt – no verifiability or validation
  • Server-based – system not available  online, which might be the next trend


  • Too large – no mobility, hard to relocate
  • VVPB – increased costs for paper, ink, and maintenance

  "While many citizens would probably like to vote in the comfort of their own home, the largest problem with online voting is verifying the identification of the voter.  . . .

  "Possibly, with the use of biometrics, voter identification could be verified; however, many might be opposed to this solution and the access to that type of technology could be expensive.  In the future, if a public facility, such as a library or college, with online access and non-invasive biometric technology could be utilized, then e-voting online may expand.  However, for now, voters are not in the comfort of their homes. The need for polls, lines, personnel, and standardized machines and processes is still necessary. 

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  "E-voting is used today.  Developing a good system is critical to the success of the system to prevent system failures and to gain wide acceptance as the best method available.  A good e-voting system requires ten characteristics.  These are: 

  • Accuracy
  • Convenience
  • Reliability
  • Verifiability
  • Flexibility
  • Consistency
  • Democracy
  • Mobility
  • Social Acceptance
  • Privacy



   "When designers analyze, design, implement, and maintain standards, they need to consider these characteristics as the foundation.  The standards must be national.  E-voting will be an inexpensive, and less time consuming method once a system exhibiting national standards and the above mentioned characteristics is implemented. 


Anderson C.  (2006). How to Rig a Democracy:  A Timeline of Electronic Voting in the United States. The Indypendent. Retrieved November 28, 2006 from:  http://www.indypendent.org/?p=608

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U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan Collects Biometrics for U.S. Visas February 19, 2004 [Kazak] http://kazakhstan.usembassy.gov/pr-04-03-en.html

[The following are selected excerpts from the target paper the above headline links to.]


  The biometric identifier method chosen for use with U.S. visas is a digital photo and electronic fingerprint scans. The two index fingers of a visa applicant are electronically scanned in an inkless process during the consular officer’s interview with the applicant.

  The electronic data from the two fingerprint scans is stored in a database and is made available at U.S. ports of entry to Department of Homeland Security immigration inspectors for use in verifying the traveler’s identity. The Department of Homeland Security maintains a database of individuals who have previously violated U.S. immigration law and may check the traveler’s data against that database. Visa records are, by law, confidential. Requests for access to visa records by law enforcement are subject to statutory, regulatory and other legal restrictions. The Department of State has made no agreement to provide fingerprints from visa applicants with any other government.

  Persons holding otherwise valid U.S. visas that were issued in Almaty prior to February 11, 2004, may use those visas to travel to the U.S. There is no need to renew your U.S. visa simply because your fingerprints were not scanned the last time that you applied for a U.S. visa. 

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Biometrics: The United States Needs To Follow The Rest Of The World [Rest]


[The following are selected excerpts from the target paper the above headline links to.]


[T]here is one area in which it seems like the rest of the world is advancing, and we are not yet.   

  And, that is in the area of Biometrics. 

  Other countries have adopted some sort of National ID Scheme, or e-Passport, and we have not done so yet, at least on a large enough scale to be noticed. 

  Other countries are adopting Biometrics to help their own citizens receive their fair share of entitlements and benefits, and we have not done so yet. 

  Biometrics is giving other people around the world a chance to be counted in their national elections, but yet, in the United States, we are still wrought with failures after failures, especially when it comes to electronic voting. 

Other people around the world, it seems, are embracing Biometrics, but we are not yet.  . . .

  At one point in time, all Biometric Devices were very expensive, but just like computer hardware, the prices have reduced substantially.

  For example, today, simple biometric Devices such as Single Sign On Solutions for your computer or network are cost anywhere between $100-$200, thus making them reasonably affordable.

  Heck, you can even buy a very rudimentary Biometric Device at your local office supply store (such as Office Max or Office Depot) and even buy a Fingerprint Recognition Device for less than $50.

  Even the once traditional expensive Biometric Devices such as Iris Recognition, have also dropped in price substantially as well, making them even more affordable. 

  Also, it is important to keep in mind as well that there are many more Biometric Vendors coming out into the marketplace as well. . . .

  Further, the size and portability of Biometric Devices will become much smaller, and could very well fit into your pant pocket-much like the evolution of cell phones. 

  However, the Biometric Vendors need to do a much better job at communicating their prices, especially to the end user. The Vendors tend to focus on the much more specialized markets rather than just the average consumer, or end user.

  In other words, there needs to be a much better flow of communication between the Biometric Vendors and the consumer-only then will the public be aware of the affordability of Biometric Devices.


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Biometric Voting In Mozambique By Face Technologies Using QiSQi Biometrics and Innovatrics AFIS. [Moza]

Face Technologies implemented a biometric voter registration platform for the local, provincial and national elections in Mozambique. The government has chosen biometrics to prevent duplicate votes and to ensure the democratic environment.

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The EURODAC system enables member states to identify asylum seekers E http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=en&source=hp&q=biometrics+voting+states&btnG=Google+Search

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My Vote is My Voice—Biometrics [voice] http://myvoices.blogs.com/blog/2005/05/biometrics.html

[The following are selected excerpts from the target paper the above headline links to.] 


  Recently a friend of mine lost his Naturalization Certificate in a fire. This is the one of most coveted documents in history because it grants foreign born citizens a new identity, being an American. In order to replace the Naturalization Certificate, the Department of Homeland Security which now houses the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) denied the replacement certificate pending a Biometric analysis. The notification from CIS included local sites that perform the biometric analysis for a fee.

  Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic.  Some of the features include measurements of; face, fingerprints, handwriting, hand geometry, iris, retinal, vein, and voice.   Biometric technology is now the foundation of a secure identification and personal information data collection system maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

  The information is uploaded for various purposes to be utilized by numerous governmental agencies for verification and distribution, all under the premise of increasing security.

  In 1903 NY State Prison began fingerprinting prisoners for security purposes and since then the government has systematically proposed various schemes to collect information on the citizenry. Since then, states have been collecting personal information for anyone requesting a driver’s license, professional license, Medicaid or welfare benefits. The Judicial Branch in several states has ruled against mass collection of personal information as a violation of personal privacy.

  In Perkey v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1986) the Supreme Court of California ruled that, "The collection of fingerprints for ... unspecified and widespread usage infringes on individual privacy rights." 

  Fingerprints, facial geometry, and retinal scans and the communication thereof are protected under the right to liberty and property which is a basic understanding of the US Constitution which has been backed by 200 years of case law, protecting these basic human rights.

  The government’s stance is that the war on terror has prompted the need for increased security measures. When the citizenry allows blatant violations of basic Civil Liberties it is the death of Democracy. In Politics Aristotle said, “ The basis for a democratic state is liberty”

  We must save our liberty for the democratic state is in an ominous risk of extinction.

  Ok everyone; look into the retinal camera for your close-up.

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Dems spark alarm with call for national ID card [Dems ID]



By Alexander Bolton, The Hill 04/30/10

[The following are selected excerpts from the target paper the above headline links to.]


  “Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.

  ”‘The cardholder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the microprocessing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer,’ states the Democratic legislative proposal.
  ”The American Civil Liberties Union, a civil liberties defender often aligned with the Democratic Party, wasted no time in blasting the plan.
  ”’Creating a biometric national ID will not only be astronomically expensive, it will usher government into the very center of our lives. Every worker in America ‘will need a government permission slip in order to work. And all of this will come with a new federal bureaucracy — one that combines the worst elements of the DMV and the TSA,’ said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel.
  ”’America’s broken immigration system needs real, workable reform, but it cannot come at the expense of privacy and individual freedoms,’ Calabrese added.”

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Brazil’s Most Secure Voting Ever [Brazil]


By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Contributing Reporter

[The following are selected excerpts from the target paper the above headline links to.]


  The new technology will require voters to identify themselves by means of a fingerprint. State governments already keep fingerprint records of any citizen within their jurisdiction that holds a national identity card, and since ID cards are required for almost all aspects of civil life, (such as opening a bank account or applying for a job,) the fingerprints of the majority of the voting population are already on record.

  In the event that the technology fails to recognize a print, the voter can be identified from a photographic database that will be updated whenever a person registers to vote. It is hoped that the technology will provide a fail-safe means of identifying voters and eliminate the risk of fraudulent voting, making these the most secure elections in the nation’s history.

  The biometric technology was first tested in 2008 in the cities of Fátima do Sul (MS), João Baptista (SC) and Colorado do Oeste (RO), involving almost 50,000 voters. This year the TSE has acquired an additional 165,000 of the new machines and intends to roll out the technology to a further 51 cities, encompassing almost three percent of the total electorate. It is expected that by 2020 all of Brazil’s ballot boxes will feature biometric identity systems.


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N.H. Lawmakers Reject Broad Restrictions On Biometrics NH http://www.darkreading.com/insiderthreat/security/government/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=224000106

Vote followed advocacy effort by Security Industry Association


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Biometric database bill passes first vote http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3614965,00.html Erez Ronen, Ynetnews.com

Knesset okays controversial biometrics bill, turns it over to Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for further legislation. If passed, will compel citizens to make fingerprints available to government, or risk jail

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Slave State/New World Order here we come! [Sla] http://hubpages.com/hub/Bio-metric-ID-and-Verichip

  The United States Government wants to tag you like an animal. Recently a group of Senator's and the President convened to put together a bill that would require every registered gun owner and citizen to have a Bio-metric ID or Verichip inserted into them


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A biometric-secure e-voting system for election  processes http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel5%2F4636076%2F4648794%2F04648818.pdf%3Farnumber%3D4648818&authDecision=-203


Khasawneh, M.  Malkawi, M.  Al-Jarrah, O.  Barakat, L.  Hayajneh, T.S.  Ebaid, M.S. 
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 

This paper appears in: Mechatronics and Its Applications, 2008. ISMA 2008. 5th International Symposium on


  In this paper we propose a multifaceted online e-voting system. The proposed system is capable of handling electronic ballots with multiple scopes at the same time, e.g., presidential, municipal, parliamentary, amongst others. The system caters for integrity of an election process in terms of the functional and non-functional requirements. The functional requirements embedded in the design of the proposed system warrant well-secured identification and authentication processes for the voter through the use of combined simple biometrics. The design of the system guarantees that no votes in favor of a given candidate are lost, due to improper tallying of the voting counts, with the proper incorporation of system FLAGpsilas. Transparency of voting follows through in all phases of an election process to assure the voter that his/her vote went in favor of his/her candidate of choice. Besides its main functional properties, the proposed system is designed to cater for several essential nonfunctional requirements. Of utmost importance are the requirements for correctness, robustness, coherence, consistency, and security. To verify the robustness and reliability of the proposed system, intensive computer simulations were run under varying voting environments, viz. voter density, voter inter-arrival times, introduced acts of malice, etc. Results of the simulations show that security and performance of the system are according to expectations. These results provide the proper grounds that would guide the decision maker in customizing the proposed system to fit his particular voting needs.

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