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Zebra prints biometric ID cards for Angolan elections

Zebra Card Printers : 08 May, 2008  (Application Story)
Identification verification to be achieved in elections in Angola using cards printed by Zebra printers containing digital photograph and biometric fingerprint encoded signature.
Zebra P640i printers have been used to register eight million Angolan voters using biometric data, ahead of the first elections in the country for the past 16 years.

The printers were used in mobile registration centres set up in each of the country's 18 provinces. The voters' identity was verified and biographical and biometric fingerprint data, with a digital photograph, were printed and encoded on the card.

In all 700 P640i secure id printers were supplied over an eight month period providing each voter with secure, tamper resistant identification in readiness for the country's upcoming legislative and presidential elections in September 2008 and 2009 respectively.

With an area of almost 1.25 million square kilometres, Angola is five times the size of the UK with a demographic density of just eight people per square kilometer, making the remote delivery of the project its biggest challenge.

The security class card printers were supplied by auto-identification specialist Identisis, a leading Zebra Card Printer reseller, to SINFIC, the systems integrator on behalf of the Angolan government. SINFIQ created mobile registration centers for each of the 18 provinces and a National Data Center for the aggregation and quality control of data.

Card printing equipment had to be able to withstand the rigours of the Angolan climate while reliably producing the voters' ID cards in remote locations on demand. It was important too, that the right consumables to deal with these conditions were available.

The choice of the Zebra P640i was endorsed by Identisis following Zebra's early involvement in project discussions, which included testing every element of the unit's performance to demonstrate its capabilities in what would prove to be trying local conditions, and training local operators in the use of the machines.

The P640i printers were chosen for two main reasons. The P640i produces secure cards that can hold significant amounts of information including photo ID, fingerprint, and encoded details that can be read from a barcode on the reverse. Secondly, because the card is laminated, the card and the data are protected and won't be corrupted by heat, dust, or humidity.

Around 40 people were trained initially and divided into seven 'brigades' that travelled out into the Angolan provinces, often to remote villages, to record voters' details and produce the cards.

The mobile registration teams would identify citizen voters, collect biographical and biometric data, take a photograph, and then print the card on the spot. This information was then stored on the National Data Centre to centralise the data and help to combat any attempted fraud of multiple registrations.

'Zebra have provided high levels of support from the very start of this project. They have worked with us on both the specification and implementation elements of the project and this teamwork helped to ensure effective execution of the solution,' said Mario Bonixe, Managing Director of Identisis.

'Zebra delivered a very professional service, not just in the quality and durability of the printers, but also through their commitment to training people to operate them efficiently in difficult environmental conditions,' commented Eurico Santos, of Systems integrator SINFIC.

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