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Biometric machines thwart duplicate voters in Ghana presidential election, cause massive delays

Ghanaians took to the polls December 7 to vote for the country’s newest president. This election marks the first in the country using a biometric system to register voters, though issues with machine reliability and long lines have made for a complex election process.

Intended to reduce incidences of voter fraud and multiple voting, the deployed biometric system has been troublesome in the country since its introduction. As previously reported in BiometricUpdate.com, members of the Western Regional Branch of ‘Nana for President 2012 (NAFOP), alleged fraud was taking place regarding the biometric identification cards of unsuspecting voters, and an earlier two-day pilot test for the system was very poorly attended. 

According to an article in The Africa Report, the biometric machines brought forth significant problems with reliability. In two polling stations visited by The Africa Report, biometric machines had broken down and had held up voting for over an hour. In some cases, voters, having to wait in line for so long, considered skipping the vote and heading home.

“I even want to go home, because [the polling officials] are simply saying to us that it would be fixed, but we are not seeing any progress all this time,” voter Josephine Adom told ghanabusinessnews.com in an interview.

Despite these time delays, the biometric system has already identified many multiple voters in this year’s election and the electoral commission has issued a statement assuring all voters that if they stay in line beyond the time when the polls close, they will still be allowed to vote.


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