At a time when GOP lawmakers are excoriated by Democrats for asking that voters be required to present photo ID at the polls, Yemen is taking it one step further. They plan to confirm voters’ ID using biometric fingerprint scanners. And they’re doing it with both the approval and the financial backing of the United Nations.
The South Korean company Suprema, Inc. will provide 4,800 of its RealScan-D live scanners in time for Yemen’s February, 2014 election. The funds for the scanners are being provided by the United Nations Development Program, according to CNS News.
No more voting for long-dead grandfather Mohamed or Uncle Yousaf, who moved out of the district last year. One person, one vote — just the way it’s supposed to be.
“Yemen has come one step closer to adopting democracy and is now preparing for the new presidential elections by strategically investing the funds from the UNDP,” said Suprema in a press release.
The company’s president, James Lee, said: “The Arab Spring was the advent of free election and the pro-democracy movement in the Middle East. I believe there will be many more voter registration projects to follow.”
The scanners work by capturing and storing a prospective voter’s finger or palm print when he registers. He proves his identity just one time — at registration. From that point forward, his fingerprint confirms that he is who he says he is at the polls.
“Live Scan fingerprinting refers to the technology used by law enforcement agencies and private facilities to capture fingerprints and palm prints electronically, without the need for the more traditional method of ink and paper,” Suprema said in its press release. “Based on cutting-edge optical & biometric technologies, Suprema developed range of live scanners for single, dual, ten-fingerprints and palm print capturing, which are used for law enforcement, border control, national ID as well as for commercial applications.”
Yemen, a Muslim-dominant country on the southwest border of Saudi Arabia along the Red Sea and just across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia, is currently headed by President Abd Rabuh Mansur. He was elected in early 2007 following a tumultuous 2006 election involving civil unrest, protests, and violence that forced the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down.
Yemen is rife with human rights abuses, and is peppered with Islamist radicals, including al Qaeda terrorist cells.
Voter identification has long been a bone of contention between Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Democrats claim that voter ID laws result in voter suppression, especially among Democrats. Republicans say that proof of ID is required to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the electoral process.
Ironically, when President Obama was on his African trip in June, he applauded the use of voter ID at the polls — in Kenya. His administration continues to fight state voter ID laws in the United States, however.
My question is, if some backwater hellhole like Yemen can implement a program like this, why can’t we? Or am I being racist to even ask?