Nigeria’s biometric voter system detects over 1M invalid entries
Nigeria’s National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that more than one million enrollments on the biometric Register of Voters, within the framework of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise which started on June 28 last year, are invalid.
Channels TV reports that the disclosure was made by INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, recently as he gave updates about the voter registration process which is due to end soon ahead of general elections coming up in February and March 2023.
According to the report, the invalid registrations were detected by INEC in the process of cleaning up voter registration data, thanks to the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) in place. The invalid entries are mostly as a result of double registrations or registrations with incomplete information, INEC says. Together they make up roughly 45 percent of total completed registrations so far.
The INEC boss said the development is disturbing given that so much money, time and resources have been spent on the CVR process. He said there were also indications that such irregular registrations were done in complicity with some INEC staff to who he promised prosecution if ongoing investigations prove their involvement.
After cleaning the database, the INEC boss said 1,390,519 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for first-time potential voters have already been printed, while 464,340 additional PVCs have been printed for those who made transfer or card replacement requests, per Channels TV.
Meanwhile, The Sun, in its own report, states the exact number of invalid votes as 1.126 million out of 2.235 million new entries, with the States of Bayelsa, Ebonyi and Rivers recording the highest number of such illegal enrollments, respectively.
“While the number of new registrants is very impressive and demonstrates the eagerness of Nigerians to vote in the forthcoming elections, the commission has a duty to clean up the data to ensure that only eligible Nigerians are registered. As you are aware, the foundation for any credible election rests on the credibility of the Register of Voters. The introduction of the biometric registration of voters in 2011 has helped to sanitize the Register,” INEC chairman said, as quoted by The Sun.
Second phase registration underway in Zimbabwe
While Nigerian authorities are contending with voter registration irregularities, Zimbabwe has just launched the second of a two-phased mobile biometric voter registration drive, also ahead of the country’s elections next year, Chronicle reports.
This second and last phase of the registration exercise follows the first which took place from February 1 to 28, with the main objective of delimiting constituency sizes before the polls in 2023.
As Chronicle writes, the mobile registration started timidly on April 11, but it is expected to pick steam as the days go by. The process is due to wind up on April 30, the report notes.
A total of 2,713 voter registration centers have been established with 1,885 personnel employed by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) to carry out the registration, including voter education.
Chronicle notes that its reporting crew deployed to the field found out that there were more people showing up for registration than in the first phase, and the ZEC boss has called on citizens to take advantage of the registration campaign and register their names.
Zimbabwe had earlier announced a special digital ID issuance drive to enable more potential voters to enlist their names on the electoral register.
Liberia institutions pitch political parties on biometric registry plan
A technical workshop has been held by Liberia’s National Election Commission (NEC) and National Identification Registry (NIR) to educate political parties about the biometric voters’ registry being established for the 2023 General and Presidential Election, Front Page Africa reports.
The workshop focused on the implementation of the system and the collaboration between the two government bodies. Biometric registration will be carried out by the NEC, with data passed to the NIR, and from there to the Liberia Statistic Geo-Information Service (LISGIS).
The biometric registry is intended to cut down on duplicate voter registrations and underage voting, according to the article.
NIR Executive Director J. Tiah Nagbe urged the representatives of the parties to cooperate fully with the registration process.
Also at the workshop, officials urged political party reps to adequately fund the institutions and the process.