The process of voter registration started in Somaliland on 15th January 2016 with new technology termed the IRIS system and peacefully completed in six regions of Somaliland on 29th September 2016. The National Election commission (NEC) has begun the distribution of the voting cards in Adwal and Sahil region on April 2017 and successfully completed the last two regions of Sool and Sanaag on Aug 29, 2017. This voter registration process was central and fundamental principle for Somaliland towards achieving a free and fair presidential election on November 13th 2017.
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has adopted a well-coordinated and improved system of IRIS biometric technology which was used for the first time in 2016-2017 voter registration in Somaliland. The technology used by NEC to register eligible voters has effectively detected and prevented voters that attempted to register more than one time in all the districts and regions of the country. The technology of IRIS biometric system has replaced the fingerprint biometric system that has been exercised in 2008-9 voter registration, which was used only for the presidential elections of 2010.
The domestic observers have been deployed to observe and report on the performance of voter registration throughout the process on the use of new technology of IRIS biometric system and there were no complaints on the technology and the political parties indicated their satisfaction and confidence of the voter registration process.
The new IRIS biometric technology accomplishes such credible voter registration system, which is locally validated and configured and this technology partially resolved the past election problems in Somaliland and will pave the way for future elections must be held in a timely and progressive manner.
According to NEC announcement, a total of 873, 331 voters have been registered across the six electoral regions of Somaliland to participate in the November 13, 2017 presidential election. Eventually, it was a historical day for all Somalilanders, once NEC has ultimately declared the final voters list (FVL) on October 10, 2017 which is a total of 704,089 voters.
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