Electoral Commission Tests Biometric Registration Equipment for Elections

Francis Npong, Tamale

Towards the December 7 general elections, the Electoral Commission of Ghana is testing its new biometric equipment procured for the registration of eligible voters. The pilot programme opened at some selected polling stations throughout the country entered day three without any challenges. However some centers did experienced technical hitches but it was rectified by the IC technical personnel of the EC

The pilot registration exercise ongoing was to test the efficacy of biometric registration equipments to ensure that the December 7 elections were free, fair and transparent.

The Tamale Metropolitan Electoral Officer Mr. Francis Opoku in an interview with the Enquirer pointed out that the exercise was not only to test the effectiveness of the registration machines but also to determine how it works, and its ability to detect double registration and automatically delete it as has been preached to Ghanaians by the EC.

The EC official observed that the only challenged they faced on the first day of the exercise was the rejection or un-recognition of some people’s finger prints “but that was solved after we decided to clean people’s”, he said.

The fingerprints scanner on the first day failed to recognize few people whose hands were covered with dirt but after several attempts the EC official introduced hand cleaning at the spot before people are allowed to place their hands on the machine “that has worked perfectly and so far no other defect has been detected”.

He said that the machines were working to expectations and that if that efficacy would be experienced during the national registration exercise scheduled to take off on the March 24, the EC’s intention to clear the voter’s register and establish a clean national voter’s registration would be successful. The EC man indicated that unlike the manual registration where somebody could register twice or more at difference polling stations, the biometric registration would detect and automatically delete any person found to have registered more than one irrespective where the registrations took place.

The machines that run on both electricity and batteries can register at least about 120 people day. “When running on the battery it takes eight solid hours but it came with a spare battery strong enough to support a day’s work”, Mr. Opoku disclosed.

“The first day we registered about 97 people, 125 0n the second and we will register more today”, he said.

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has been battling with political parties over biometric voter’s register as they called for they termed verification processes. But the EC officials who were poised to implementing the newly found technology  explained that the biometric register was to avoid double voting, that would reduce electoral violence during elections in the country.

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