September 26, 2012 -
The Ghanaian government will be using biometric voter verification in its upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
This will be a first for Ghana and perhaps for sub-Saharan Africa. The county’s Electoral Commission has ordered 26,000 biometric verification machines in order to provide all electoral districts with one biometric machine. An additional 1,000 biometric verification machines will serve as backup at regional and district electoral offices.
The biometric verification machines are handheld machines that will be transported to Accra for clearance and testing before deployment to various electoral precincts.
As featured in an article in The Chronicle, the Director of ICT Electoral Commission, Hubert Akumiah, said during a workshop for the Parliamentary Press Corps: “We have several samples of the verification machine in the office that we are going to use for piloting. The first piloting exercise will be done internally at the offices of the Electoral Commission in Accra. That exercise is slated for the first week of October. Following its success, we will then pilot it at some constituencies before the general elections.”
Biometric verification of voters is the latest electoral reform instituted by the Commission since indelible ink and Voter’s ID cards. By using biometrics, the Commission expects to reduce queuing time at the polling stations and speed up the electoral process. The technology is also expected to address electoral fraud as multiple voting, voting by unqualified persons and multiple registrations.
During the elections, biometric technology is also expected to generate accurate and useful election statistics.