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Kenyan electoral commission to deploy over 7,000 biometric voter registration kits for exercise

Kenyan electoral commission to deploy over 7,000 biometric voter registration kits for exercise

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it will deploy over 7,000 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits for the 15-day mass voter registration exercise that launched on Monday, according to a report by All Africa.

The move comes a couple weeks after the IEBC warned the country that political pressures regarding biometric voter technology may potentially postpone preparations for the nation’s upcoming August elections.

Kenya’s smallest ward will receive 3 BVR kits, while the largest will receive 10 kits. IEBC said it would make the best efforts to achieve its target of registering between 4 to 6 million new voters.

“A total of 7,793 BVR kits will be deployed countrywide based on the County Assembly Ward size,” IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba. “In the MVR I, the Commission deployed 5,756 kits which were not optimally utilised given the constraints of budget. The consequence was such that 2 kits ended up at one registration centre. This time round, a kit will serve one registration centre at a time.”

Unlike previous registration exercises where voters were required to register in the ward they intended to vote, the Commission is allowing voters to register in any ward as long as it is located in the constituency where they intend to vote.

There will be a total of 24,613 registration centres, which includes 24,599 centres that were used in MVR I and 54 centres that had been de-gazetted for MVR I, Chiloba said.

“Three-hundred registration centres have been amended in terms of names adding that registration centres in Mandera East and Lafey constituencies will change due to realignment of constituency boundaries in accordance with the Court of Appeal decision,” said Chiloba. “Requests for transfers and change of voter registration particulars shall be undertaken at the IEBC constituency offices only. This will free-up other clerks in the field to handle only new applicants.”

Chiloba also added that the Commission will be registering those Kenyan residents who are at least 18 years old, possess an ID card or a passport with biometric details, and have had their photo enrolled in the IEBC database.

The IEBC has also come up with several procedures and programs to register voters to address the public’s concerns that the biometric registration and identification of voters would lock out those individuals with disabilities, Chiloba said.

The Commission will make available over 21,421 employees for the exercise, including 290 registration officers, 290 assistant registration officers, 1,775 voter registration assistants, 2,900 ward-based voter educators, 580 ICT support assistants, and 15,586 clerks, Chiloba said.

Meanwhile, those areas with pending ward by-elections will not participate in the registration exercise until mid-March when the by-elections are concluded.

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