EC defends request for new biometric voters’ register

The Electoral Commission (EC) has asked Parliament to approve GH¢444,846,663 for the compilation of a new voters’ register as part of its activities for the year 2020, to compile a new register for the general election.

In its budget allocated GH¢287,842,511 for the conduct of elections,  GH¢27million has also been requested for voter and electoral education and GH¢1.2million for demarcation of electoral boundaries.

The Commission stated that its current system is outdated and weak hence the request to compile a new voters’ register before the 2020 general election.

Dr Serebour Quaicoe, the Director of Electoral Services at the EC, said the Commission was currently facing numerous challenges with the biometric verification system which need to be updated.

“A lot of people’s fingers are failing to be recognised with the new one that we want to introduce, we will add facial recognition, if the fingers fail we can use the face to verify,” he explained.

This has raised eyebrows and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has kicked against the new register and they believe the Commission was purposefully attempting to disenfranchise some people with the new register.

“In my opinion, there is no such need for a new voters’ register, why do we require a new register? Our practice has been, we replace the new register every decade,” the party noted.

But Dr Serebour warned that “with manual verification on the high, the essence of biometric is being defeated since it was introduced to curb multiple registrations, voting and impersonation, should issues be left as it is, the system may fail at some point, if we don’t take care, it will get to a point and the system will crash in our faces.”

Commenting on the issue, Dr Oduro Osae, Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies, realised the move by the EC to promote transparency, credibility and fairness in the electoral processes and insisted that “it is key to our growth of democracy, development and to enable the citizenry have confidence in the system which is critical for their participation in governance, if it will give us the confidence and the openness we need, then I am for it.”  -myjoyonline.com

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