Tanzania Presidential Elections

For the 2015 Presidential Elections in the Republic of Tanzania, the Tanzania National Election Commission (NEC) needed a new biometric voter registration and verification solution that would inspire faith in the electoral process. They also needed to reach all 58 million people, regardless of where they were located or the lack of infrastructure available to get the digital registrations completed in a fairly short space of time.

Based on the customised hardware and software systems created specifically for this type of project, Laxton and its project partners were selected to get eligible voters legally registered for the country’s fourth democratic elections to be held on the 25th of October 2015.

"A project like this brings promise to the future of secure, inclusive elections for ALL the people of Tanzania."
Lyle Charles Laxton
CEO, Laxton
Just over 23 million adults registered to vote Tanzania's general elections. The biometric registration kits were equipped with back-up batteries and solar power so that registrations could take place in rural locations without electricity. Registrants could be registered, verified and walk away with a printed Voter ID Card to be used on election day.

An election solution to inspire voter confidence

Working closely with the Tanzanian government and the NEC, Laxton designed and delivered advanced Biometric Registration Kits (BRKs) that met with international industry standards. Giving all citizens, no matter how remote their location, the opportunity to register – and eventually vote – would build confidence in an electoral voting process that was still fairly new to many.

In previous election years, Citizens in remote locations had to travel at great expense to larger towns to first register, then to fetch their voter ID cards once issued, and again to cast their ballots. By using Laxton’s self-designed rugged, mobile solution, Election Officials were able to travel to remote locations to register all eligible voters. On the day of the election, these mobile stations could also be set up for voting.

By incorporating a specialised printer into the kit, a verified voter ID card could be printed at the registration station. This plastic card could not be duplicated, ensuring that only registered voters could vote on the day, and that their identities had already been verified at registration. This greatly lowered the incidence of voter fraud, thus ensuring a more credible result.

Secure, credible solutions

With previous elections fraught with voter irregularities, the NEC was keen to minimise this risk as much as possible.

Starting when Registration and Voting officials are trained to operate the equipment, Laxton ensures assigns each officer with credentials for a specific kit. Only the necessary software is provided for the process and configured to ensure that data is captured accurately.

The Laxton software system also ensures that voter data is encrypted and stored securely on the devices before being moved to a central database set up specifically for voter data. 

After collating the information from the regions into a central repository, the software begins a de-duplication process, where duplicate registrations are flagged for assessment. Officials appointed specifically for this purpose can decide the next step on a case-by-case basis.

This process produced Tanzania’s most accurate and credible Voter’s Roll to date, with the accessibility of the registration stations resulting in a significant increase in the number of registered voters.  

Laxton specialists train registration officials to use the hardware and software systems efficiently and accurately. All items needed on registration day are provided and packed into a kit that allows for the easy set-up of voting stations in any location.

In-country support from beginning to end

To ensure top-tier customer support, Laxton provided in-country project management and technical support staff for the duration of the project. Our team worked with the NEC during the planning, implementation, and post-project phase.

This support included technical advice around the hardware and software specifications, procurement, logistics, election official training, and technical support during the registration drives. Local technicians were also trained to maintain and repair the equipment, which would be used for other citizen identity programmes going forward.

With this hands-on approach, the government was not only assured of a smooth registration and voting process, but that their investment in the biometric identity systems would benefit the country for many years to come. After the elections, the devices would be used to ensure that every citizen has a verifiable identity and access to government services.

This project exceeded the NEC’s expectations and enabled them to run a free and fair national election.