The Electoral Commission (EC) on Thursday, June 18, piloted the new Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits it had procured for the mass registration of voters for the December 7, 2020 general election, with an assurance that no eligible Ghanaian will be disenfranchised.
The Director of Elections at the Commission, Dr Serebour Quarcoo, who gave the assurance, said minor challenges associated with the BVR kits had been identified and that they would be fixed to guarantee a smooth registration exercise.
He, however, said the EC had not taken delivery of all the BVRs and that the full component of the kits would be ready before the registration exercise.
“Some of the BVR kits were brought into the country less than a month now so we want to try them and have a feel of how the system will work. For the main registration exercise, we expect 8,500 BVR kits, but not all of them are in the country now. By the time we start the exercise, we hope that all of them would have arrived,” the director added.
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As at about 8:30 a.m. yesterday, officials of the EC had set up the Accra Ridge Church in readiness for the pilot exercise.
And in compliance with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety protocols, chairs were arranged at least two metres apart.
Some officials of the EC also positioned themselves at various entry points to the venue to ensure that patrons washed their hands and used hand sanitizers before they were allowed into demarcated areas.
They also ensured that everyone on the church premises wore a nose mask.
The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Jean Mensa, was at the center to monitor the exercise. Some political actors, the clergy and civil society organizations (CSOs) also participated in the exercise.
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Key among them were the Campaign Manager of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2020 elections, Mr Peter Mac Manu; the Director of Information Technology (IT) of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Osei Kwame Griffiths; the Founder of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Mr Kofi Akpaloo; the General Secretary of the All People’s Congress (APC), Mr Mordecai Thiombiano; and an Independent candidate in the 2016 election, Mr Joseph Osei Yeboah.
A former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Alliance for Christian Advocacy Africa (ACAA), Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, also participated in the exercise.
After going through the processes, Mr Mac Manu said he was confident that the EC would compile a credible register.
For his part, Mr Griffiths said the exercise was fraught with challenges that gave the indication that the EC would not be able to register all eligible voters and compile a credible register before the December 7 elections.
He said an analysis of the pilot registration at the regional and national levels showed that the 38 days set aside by the EC for the mass registration exercise would lead to congestion that could disenfranchise many Ghanaians.
Dr. Quarcoo said it would take a prospective voter 15 minutes to complete registration and receive a card; however, a person could spend more time if he delayed in providing the needed information to registration officers.
He said the commission had also deepened engagements with the National COVID-19 Response Team and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to ensure that protocols and safety measures were put in place at registration centers.
Source: Graphic Online