The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission says the existing voters’ register is susceptible to manipulation which could endanger and change the outcome of the December election.
Jean Mensa, mounting a strong defense for the Commission’s decision to create a new register for the December polls explained that an audit of the current system had established potential room for election manipulation, with dire consequences on the general election, saying that was something the EC wanted to avert with the new BVR.
She also added that the use of the current voters’ register will force the Commission to rely mostly on manual verification since capturing of fingerprints in the last registration exercise was poorly done.
“Our experts advised us right from the onset, that in acquiring the new system we will be changing the system operating the biometric voter management system-and it meant that we have to migrate the data from the old system to the new system.
“The result was that we could risk and indeed we did stand to risk losing a lot of data of citizens who have registered. You will go on voting day and your names will be missing from the register and this was not a risk that we wanted to take.
“I can image the fury and uproar that would occur in this country if people go on voting day and their names were not captured.
The EC boss said, this was not a risk the Commission is ready to take.
“Because the finger prints quality is so low, when you go on election day and you are trying to verify, you realize that your finger prints cannot be verified.
“What happens then is that, you come with a card and we allow you to vote. This could lead to manipulation in the sense that the card may not belong to you and because we don’t have the feature for facial recognition, you could come in with the card and you are allowed to vote and if there’s collusion at the polling station level, it could lead to high level of manual verification.”
Madam Jean Mensa further indicated that, out of the 5.4 million people who were verified to vote in the 2019 district assembly election, 35,000 voters were manually verified.
According to her, the current register was not credible because it had been bloated with the names of foreign nationals due to the EC’s acceptance of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards for voter registration and the demise of about a million registered voters.
She said the Supreme Court determined that the NHIS card was not a sure proof of citizenship and asked the EC, in 2014, to expunge the names of those who used the NHIS cards for the voter registration from the register.
Addressing the leadership of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) before proceeding to a closed-door engagement on the compilation of the new register in Accra on Friday, 12 June 2020, she said the reason for compiling a new register was to promote free, fair and transparent elections