ICT and Elections in Nigeria: Rural Dynamics of Biometric Voting Technology Adoption

Victor Chidubem Iwuoha


Applications of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-driven innovations are profound in the electoral cycle. Among them, biometric technology is currently sweeping across developing countries. It is, however, only poorly adopted among rural voters. Does the use of biometric technology in the conduct of elections reconstruct rural voters’ behaviour, amid prevailing social challenges? The links between these realities and their consequences are currently less understood, and lacking in supporting literature. I argue that the public perception of biometric technology, the availability of proper infrastructure, and the distance between polling stations and the dwellings of rural voters all affect the latter’s level of adoption of biometric technology. These interactions combine to produce specific modalities that shape voting behaviour and general political culture. I elicit primary data from voters in Nigeria’s remote villages, so as to predict the implications and consequences of glossing over the dimensions and magnitude of the biometric technology adaptation challenge by policymakers. I conclude by reflecting on how these interplays and interactions create “spatial differentials” in electoral outcomes/credibility, and proffer possible strategies for institutional intervention.

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