EC orders 26,000 verification machines…For bilmetric verification
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
The Electoral Commission has ordered 26,000 biometric verification machines to be used at the various polling stations nationwide, in order to enhance the integrity of the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The machines, The Chronicle was told, are currently being transported to Accra for clearance by the end of this month. Upon its arrival, each of the 25,000 polling stations across the country is expected to have one during the general polls, while the remaining machines would be used as backup at the region and district levels.
The Director of ICT, Electoral Commission, Hubert Akumiah, made this observation last Saturday at Ho during a workshop to build on the capacity of the Parliamentary Press Corps on election reporting.
Already, the EC has at its disposal a few of the biometric verification machines it intends to put to test in the first week of October, to see how best it would function before the general polls.
“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, I mean 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,” noted Mr. Akumeah.
The biometric verification machine is a handheld machine used to ascertain that an individual ‘is who he says he is’ or ‘is who she says she is’. Biometric verification requires a biometric system or setup to operate in.
According to Mr. Akumiah, the verification machines would be used at the various polling stations during the day of the elections to identify the voter in a clear and undisputable way, reducing to a minimum the possibility of errors, and guaranteeing the voter his or her right to express his or her vote in a democratic way.
The use of the Biometric Verification of Voters (BVV) for the upcoming general elections, according to the ICT expert, was the first of its kind in any major elections in sub-Saharan Africa.
The BVV, upon its introduction, is expected to speed up the electoral process and reduce voter queuing time, while also ensuring total accuracy by providing very useful election day related statistics.
It is also expected to combine voter validation and election reporting functionality in one cost, while also ensuring that voters cannot vote again at the same polling station or anywhere their data is not loaded.
In the last two decades, the EC has embarked on electoral reforms such as the use of indelible ink, use of Voter ID cards without photos, and the use of photo ID cards and photo voters register.
Yet the system was fraught with challenges, including registration and voting by unqualified persons, multiple registrations and its attendant multiple voting.
The coming into force of the Biometric Voters Register (BVR), and now the Biometric Verification of Voters (BVV), are, therefore, expected to address the above-mentioned challenges that were impeding the electoral process of the country.
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