Voter Integrity, Trust and the Promise of Digital Technologies: Biometric Voter Registration in Solomon Islands

Stephanie Ketterer Hobbis*, Geoffrey Hobbis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drawing on the anthropology of technology, this article examines the introduction of a digital biometric voter registration for Solomon Islands 2014 national election. Four perspectives on biometric voting are brought into dialogue: (1) the technological particularities, strengths and shortcomings of biometric voting registration (BVR), (2) a global and international embrace of the technology for its perceived ‘universal’ tendency to secure identities, (3) efforts by the Solomon Islands state to showcase its political stability by means of BVR and (4) the ways village-based voters come to understand, interpret and re-imagine BVR as political technology. We show how, within the ethnographic context of North Malaita, debates surrounding BVR reveal a continued distrust and uncertainty in North Malaitans’ relationship with the Solomon Islands state and its representatives. Within the context of this uncertainty BVR is re-imagined as technology that aids voter integrity within rather than beyond patronage networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-134
Number of pages21
JournalAnthropological Forum
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • biometric voter registration
  • Biometrics
  • digital democracy
  • elections
  • Solomon Islands

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