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3-week biometric voter registration on in Ghana amid opposition hullabaloo

Categories Biometrics News  |  Elections  |  ID for All
3-week biometric voter registration on in Ghana amid opposition hullabaloo

A nationwide biometric voter registration initiative launched on May 7 is gathering steam in Ghana with the process expected to end on May 27.  Eligible Ghanaians have already been showing up at registration centers as the Electoral Commission (EC) targets at least 622,000 new voters before the exercise wraps up, Ghana News reports.

Addressing a press conference before the launch of the process, EC Chairperson Jean Mensa gave assurances that measures have been taken to ensure a successful registration drive. She noted that biometric registration kits and personnel had been deployed to all the 268 district offices nationwide. The personnel, she added, include over 3,000 electoral officers, both regular and temporary ones, who have been trained for the activity.

Young Ghanaians who attained voting age after the last voter registration exercise in September last year, or eligible citizens who missed the chance to do so then, will have the opportunity to enrol their names on the voter register this time, according to Mensa.

Speaking about the credentials required for proof of identity, Mensa said registrants will have to either present their Ghana Card (national ID card) or a passport. The guarantor system is also accepted where in the absence of these two ID credentials, an individual would be expected to present two witnesses to vouch for their citizenship and age. Efforts by the EC to make the Ghana Card the only proof if ID for this voter registration exercise flopped.

Apart from personnel at the district offices, the EC says teams have also been deployed to difficult-to-access communities in all the 785 polling stations so that eligible voters in those areas can be captured.

Opposition fumes as request to have BVR serial numbers denied

The voter registration exercise has been going on for the past one week, not without anger from the main opposition party – the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The NDC, in a statement, fumed that the EC refused to grant its request for access to the serial number of BVR kits deployed in the voter registration process. The EC justified its refusal in a statement that sharing the serial numbers of the equipment could give rise to security risks.

Speaking at a press conference, the NDC national chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, charged that the EC has not responded to 35 questions the party is seeking answers to.

On why the NDC is insisting on getting the serial numbers of BVR kits deployed on the field, Nketiah said it “will help us trace, identify and match every registration data emanating from a specific district or electoral area.”

“We are utterly surprised that this precautionary measure taken by the NDC is being resisted by the Electoral Commission,” the NDC chair said.

The official also spoke about the issue of stolen biometric verification devices, which the EC has rejected outright.

Recently, the EC denied allegations that it wasted public funds with the acquisition of new biometric registration and verification equipment.

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