A Smart Card (MyKad) and Fingerprint Authentication for E-Voting System

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTV11IS110083

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A Smart Card (MyKad) and Fingerprint Authentication for E-Voting System

Rosli Ismail, N N Zulkifli, M M Magiman, Mohd Saufi M R,

Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus, 97008 Bintulu, Sarawak


Abstract The issue of voting still poses a significant threat to voters' personal safety and the integrity of the election. Smart cards have gotten a lot of attention because they are secure and can be used for a wide range of services. Fingerprint identification is the oldest method and has been used successfully in various applications and is one of the most essential identifiers of humans. This paper proposes a model of validation process using fingerprint on the smart card for an e- voting system. In most elections held across the world, voters cast their ballots on paper rather than utilizing biometric technology. The existing voting system contains security flaws, such as issues with verifying the identity of voters. In the proposed model, a voters identity can be proved immediately by scanning his/her fingerprint on the scanner and improving voting security to eliminate the possibility of ballot duplication. Therefore, with this proposed model, voters will be able to cast their votes using their fingerprints rather than traditional paper-based and manual identity checking. As e-voting continues to evolve, this paper contributes to voters' validation process and knowledge to eliminate the possibility of ballot duplication and lying about voter's identity.

Keywords Fingerprint; smart card; electronic voting; biometric authentication


    Since the U.S. presidential elections in 2000, e-voting has generated a lot of debate and become a very controversial topic. Many security flaws were discovered. The requirements for the deployment of e-voting systems were revealed to be inadequate, and many researchers and professionals voiced their disagreement with the practice [1]. In many countries that are still using paper-based ballots, there are ongoing initiatives to replace those systems with electronic voting. Electronic voting (or "e-voting") is a method of casting a ballot in which votes are recorded and counted using electronic media [2].

    The issue of voting still poses a significant threat to voters' personal safety and the integrity of the election [3]. Smart cards have gotten a lot of attention because they are secure and can be used for a wide range of services [4].

    Even though the personal identification number (PIN) is frequently utilized as a means of authenticating card holders, it is anticipated that biometrics, such as fingerprints and irises, will eventually replace it. This is because biometrics eliminates the issues of users forgetting their PINs or having

    them stolen [4]. Using image processing, biometric authentication identifies persons based on data received from measurements of a person's body, such as fingerprints, faces, irises, retinal patterns, palm prints, voice prints, and so on [5].

    Among the different biometric systems, fingerprint-based identification is the oldest and has been effectively implemented in a wide range of applications. [5]. This is because fingerprints are completely unique to each individual and are quite accurate. The fingerprint biometric is superior to other types of authentications due to its simplicity, security, and ease of extraction [6].

    Methods that are based on fingerprints are particularly applicable due to the relatively low error rate and the affordability of the necessary hardware [4].

    Right now, in Malaysia we are using a manual voters identity checking at the polling station as follows [7]:

    1. Voter enters the polling station when allowed by the Police Guard at the entrance.

    2. Voter presents the MyKad, or Identification Document and the verification slip to the First Polling Clerk. Show your hand to be checked and make sure there is no ink smear on the finger.

    3. The First Polling Clerk will give the voter's MyKad/Identification Document to the Second Polling Clerk for verification. Voter needs to make sure the Identification Card No. and name called out by the First Polling Clerk is CORRECT.

    4. Voter moves forward to the Second Polling Clerk. Dip his/her index finger of the left hand into the bottle of Election Ink when requested by the Second Polling Clerk.

    5. Ballot paper is given by the Third Polling Clerk.

    6. Proceed to the ballot box and mark an 'X' in the empty space next to the candidate's name and symbol in the ballot paper using a pen (choose one candidate only)

    7. Insert the ballot paper in the correct ballot box.

    8. Immediately leave the polling place after voting.

    As a manual identity checking, votes tampered with are the most serious and common types of problems encountered during an election [8], voters find ways to vote more than

    once, which introduces inconsistencies in the final count results.

    Therefore, this paper is to propose voter validation using a smart card and fingerprint authentication for e-voting. This will improve voting security, eliminate the possibility of ballot duplication and lying about voter's identity and offer a voting system that makes it easier for individuals to cast their votes, which will ultimately lead to more honest elections.

    In this paper, Section II defines a smart card, fingerprint, paper-based voting systems, and e-voting systems. Section III reviews the related works of fingerprint biometrics in e- voting systems. Section IV presents the proposed model of fingerprint authentication on smart cards for e-voting. Section V discusses the process of our proposed model. Finally, the conclusion is described in Section VI.


    1. Smart Card (MyKad)

      In September 2001, the Malaysian government introduced a multipurpose smart NIC that is known as Malaysian Card or MyKad and became the first country in the world to do so [9].

      MyKad is a plastic token the size of a credit card that contains a microchip that has the capacity to store and retrieve data, including biometric data such as fingerprints [10]. MyKad's initial release had a 32 kB EEPROM chip driven by the M-COS (MyKad Chip Operating System) and its memory size was upgraded to 64 kilobytes in November 2002 to make room for more applications [9].

      The dual-interface chip in MyKad enables both contact and contactless access. Additionally, it makes use of biometric technology to encrypt the thumbprints of the cardholder in its chip. MyKad supports electronic verification by comparing the recorded thumbprints to the actual fingerprints placed on a smart card reader.

      There are currently nine applications that are integrated into MyKad. These applications include the National Identification Card (NIC), Driver's License (DL), Passport Information, Health Information, Electronic Purse, Access to Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Transit Application (Touch N Go), Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), and Frequent Traveler Card [9].

    2. Fingerprint

      Almost everyone in the world is born with a fingerprint, which is distinctive and completely identifies us from the other 6.5 billion individuals that live in this world. Because of this, the fingerprint has established itself as a valuable component of biometric security.

      In the fields of criminology and forensics, fingerprint identification has been used to identify people for more than a century. There are giganic databases all around the world, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with the greatest data volume with more than 200 million fingerprints. Because of this, fingerprints are currently considered to be the oldest form of biometric identification. Fingerprints have

      also recently been used for biometric identification and authentication of people [11].

      There are a few different methods that have been proposed for comparing fingerprints, but the one that is most widely used is focused on minutiae comparison [12]. Fig. 1 shows fingerprint minutiae. This set of lines is often unique to every individual.

      Fig. 1: Fingerprint and minutiae [6].

    3. Paper-Based Voting System

      Malaysia uses paper ballots like most countries around the world. A voters need to bring their identification card (MyKad) to a polling station in order to gain entry to a voting booth. Once inside, the voter crosses to mark their candidate of choice on a paper ballot, folds it up, and deposits it in a ballot box. After that, the ballot boxes are collected and transported to a tallying station, where they are opened, and the votes are counted manually by hand.

      This traditional paper-based ballot system has some advantages, including secrecy and ease of use for voters,[13] but also has a lot of disadvantages as follows:

      • Cost: paper-based ballots are expensive since they require printing, transportation, security, polling sites, and labor.

      • Integrity: the integrity of the individuals who oversee the administration of the system is critical to the operation of the system. This increases the

        potential for corruption since people can be bribed, threatened, or dishonest; it also increases the possibility of human error.

      • Accessibility: the locations of voting stations can be a hindrance for voters who reside in remote areas, as

        well as voters who may not be able to physically attend a polling station due to handicaps or being abroad.

      • Inefficiency: managing a paper-based ballot system on a national scale requires a significant investment of both time and labor. In addition, because paper

        ballots are fault-tolerant, it possible that a lot of the paper ballots will not be included in the final tally of votes.

    4. E-Voting System

    E-voting systems have the potential to address concerns regarding accessibility, transparency, and audibility. Electronic voting or e-voting is a system where a voter casts a

    ballot electronically instead of on paper [14]. Once an electronic vote is a cast, it is saved digitally and sent to a counting system [14], [15]. Electronic voting is becoming more popular in many countries because it is cheaper, faster, has a high voter turnout, and is accessible to disabled people [16], [17]. Despite all these benefits, electronic voting is an arduous effort because a minuscule possibility of going anything wrong with software or hardware could lead to an undesirable situation [18] [20]. The nature of (electronic) data and the ease of its manipulability or misinterpretation causes electronic voting many problems, which are not present in paper ballot elections. These problems make it perfectly susceptible to delivering wrong and unverifiable results [21].

    To ensure the validity and reliability of the electronic voting process, the research community in the field of electronic voting has identified some characteristics of the electronic voting protocol that must be present [22] [25]:

    1. Correctness: The results are accurate and unquestionable.

    2. Resistance to coercion: A voter cannot collaborate with a coercer in proving anything about her voting decisions.

    3. Eligibility: Only voters who are eligible can cast a vote.

    4. Privacy: Votes must be confidential, and voters cannot argue the value of their vote.

    5. End-to-end Verifiability: Independent third parties should be able to verify election results based on cast ballots.


    This section provides a summary of related research projects based on fingerprint authentication on smart cards for e-voting. When it comes to electronic voting, [26] was the first to implement a system based on the Blind Signature Theorem. Their efforts were motivated by a desire to provide secure voting processes utilizing public key cryptography. In later years, a significant amount of study has been conducted on the subject of electronic voting [27] [29].

    Estonia was the first nation to introduce a voting system in 2007 that allowed citizens to cast their votes remotely through the internet using an electronic national identification card [30]. The ID card has SHA1/SHA2 encryption capabilities for electronic signatures and authentication. Estonian ID cards can be used for bank accounts, health insurance, and EU travel. In 2011, Norway deployed the I- Voting System for county council elections, but security concerns ended the initiative [13]. The electronic voting systems in Estonia and Norway have been criticized for being "black boxes," making it unclear whether they protect the privacy and anonymity of voters. Some research projects have been conducted using homomorphic encryption and zero-knowledge proofs [31], [32].

    Wang et al. [33] presented a fingerprint-recognition system using tiny fingerprint sensors that were suitable for contemporary embedded devices. The system consists of

    fingerprint enhancement and quality control, fingerprint feature extraction, fingerprint matching with an innovative matching algorithm, and integration with other identifying systems. The experiment demonstrates that this approach is quick, accurate, and adequate for real-time identification.

    Yahaya et al. [5] proposed a framework for user identification and authentication using smart cards and fingerprints. They combined the use of a smart card and fingerprint recognition as two security measures. The smart card serves as a data storage for the fingerprint information of the cardholder. The cardholder must have his or her fingerprints scanned by a sensor. The card is then used to match the scanned fingerprint image.

    Altun & Bilgin, [34] proposed another method for biometric electronic voting systems that uses a voter's fingerprint that is kept in the system database; if the scanned fingerprint and the template of the voter's fingerprint that is kept in the system match, the voter's identification and other personal information will be presented on the screen. The fact that each person's fingerprint is completely unique leads to an increase in the amount of faith that individuals have in this system.

    Bhuvaneswary et al. [35] designed an electronic voting system with fingerprint sensors and face recognition. With the use of biometric identifiers like fingerprints and faces, elections can be held securely. The fingerprints of those who cast ballots will be collected, extracted, and stored in a database for later use in voter registration and identification. Voters can vote from anywhere in the world as long as they have their voter's unique identifier, authentication responses were given on enrolment, and a token key was given to each member right away through the election web module.


    We proposed a model of a reliable validation process using fingerprint biometric and a smart card device as presented in Fig. 2 and it consists of the following core components: smart card, Integrated Smart Card Reader with Fingerprint Scanner, e-voting system, voter registration database, candidate database, and blockchain voting data. The scope of the paper just covered part of the e-voting system which is the voter validation process only.

    Fig. 2: A Model of Fingerprint Authentication on Smart Card

    1. Smart Card (MyKad)

      In this model, smart cards are used as a storage media to store the information of the voters. Malaysian identity card (Myad) is required of all citizens and residents of the country who are older than 12 years old. Information such as a person's name, address, date of birth, gender, race, religion, picture, thumbprints, polling station code and the date they registered to vote, code for criminal record and restricted residence, driving summons and demerit points, and health information are all contained on the card [36].

    2. Integrated Smart Card (MyKad) Reader with Fingerprint Scanner

      A smart card reader with a fingerprint scanner is additional hardware that allows for direct electronic communication between the smart card and the program through existing I/O ports. A smart card reader has several parts, including a voltage regulator, clock generator, processor, and memory. The reader can perform enrolment, local matching, or matching against a remote database. It has a user-friendly sensor that guides the user during enrolment (finger position, pressure, etc.) to acquire the best possible fingerprint image. Smart card readers can either be portable or fixed terminals. In our proposed model, we use a portable terminal that is powered by an existing I/O port.

    3. Voter Registration Database

      In this model, the details of the voters information are stored in the voter registration database managed by the Election Commission of Malaysia. It is a database that includes all the information about the citizens who were qualified to vote. This database can be used to get voters information (e.g., I.C. No) and make validation by matching it with citizen information in MyKad. At the time of voting, fingerprints are validated against registered voters' fingers using a module that detects fingerprints through a fingerprint scanner.

    4. E-Voting System

    In this system, the system reads the voter's MyKad number through a smart card reader and then searches the number in the Voter Registration database, the voters information will display if his/her data is valid. Next, the fingerprint scanner will scan the voter's finger and validate the voters fingerprint with a fingerprint template in his/her MyKad, the process is identical to an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) procedure but instead of using a PIN number, this system uses a fingerprint for the validation process.

    After a voter has successfully authenticated, the voting interface will show a confirmation message. When an error happens, a specific message will be shown to the voter based on the type of problem. The fingerprint is utilized for authentication because fingerprint processing is more efficient and easier, and each person has a unique set of fingerprints.

    A Voter Registration database maintained by EC contains all the voter's personal information such as full name, MyKad no., date of birth, and gender; and registration of gazette voters information like locality, voting district, Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), Bahagian Pilihan Raya Dewan

    Rakyat (Parliament) and state of every voter enrolled before the election.

    To lessen the strain placed on the database that stores voter registration information, that database has been divided into a few regional databases based on the locality of each individual voter. The data is frequently updated and kept in a volatile form, allowing it to be deleted and accessed only when required.

    Fig. 2 shows our proposed model with fingerprint authentication on smart cards for e-voting systems. Fingerprints can be scanned using the fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint is processed by making a comparison between the captured image and the current image that was scanned by the voter. Before comparing, the images need to be broken down into their most important parts, which are called minutiae points. The fingerprint template, which contains the minutiae information is transmitted to the smart card using the smart card reader.


    As shown in Fig. 3, the flowchart provides an overview of the validation process using a fingerprint on the smart card. Fingerprints are employed because there are many algorithms available compared to other forms of biometrics. It is possible that other forms of biometric authentication, like face recognition, will not operate very well on a standard smart card processor. Utilizing a smart card in combination with fingerprint authentication is a feasible method for voter validation.

    Fig. 3: Flowchart of the proposed validation process

    We use a voters fingerprint to identify voter identity. The system will perform a check through scanning of the voter's fingerprint and match the fingerprint with a pre-stored fingerprint template in MyKad. The eligible voters data are stored in the Voter Registration database, where it can be used during elections and can perform the necessary voter verification. The system will enable the voter to cast his/her ballot if the fingerprint matches, and it will prevent the voter from casting a ballot if the fingerprint does not match. By using this model, it will replace a manual voter validation process using a manual checking and ink on a finger to mark the voter.


As mentioned before, the primary goal of the proposed model is to improve voting security to eliminate the possibility of ballot duplication and to offer a voting system that makes it easier for individuals to cast their votes.

Therefore, with the use of this model, voters will be able to validate their identity by using their fingerprints rather than giving their Smart Card (MyKad) to the Polling Clerk for the manual validation process, which will have a possibility of human error and time-consuming.

Although manual validation processes by using Identification Documents are still the most common form of identification, the use of fingerprint identification is gaining popularity and is gradually replacing the traditional way of manual identification.

For future enhancements, we will focus to design and construct a system that may be easy to use while still providing an appropriate level of security and privacy for votes by concentrating on the voting processes and integrating blockchain technology in order to save voting data.


This paper is part of a research project financially supported by Universiti Putra Malaysia through Putra IPM Grant (GP-IPM/2022/ 9730800).


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