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GH¢400m not for equipment only – EC justifies budget for new voters’ register

The Electoral Commission (EC) is defending the GH¢444,846,663 it is requesting for the compilation of a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections.

The Commission is seeking budgetary approval from Parliament to enable it undertake its activities for the election period over claims that the existing register is not credible enough for the polls.

Many including the major opposition party, the National  Democratic Congress (NDC) have raised concerns over the EC’s decision saying that it is a misplaced priority.

But justifying the need on Eyewitness News, Director of Elections at the EC, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe insisted that the current register should be replaced to make it more capable of tackling the verification challenges that occur on Election Day at least given experiences from past elections.

“We have made it very clear that the current biometric system is not good enough for future activities. We are having a lot of challenges with it. In addition to that, a lot of people have found it difficult to have their fingerprints picked up by the machine so we intend to introduce the facial recognition [option] in addition so that if your fingerprint fails, your image will be used for verification.”

“So we want to improve on the quality of the biometric verification. In addition, suppliers are no longer producing the kind of machines we use so it will be difficult to refurbish when their parts break down. So there is a need for us to replace the system,” he explained.

Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, also clarified that the said amount is not only for the procurement of equipment but to among other things cater for the full cost of undertaking a fresh registration exercise.

“The amount we are talking about is the total cost of registration, recruitment and what have you. So it’s not only for the equipment and software. So that amount shouldn’t be perceived only for the equipment. So whether we upgrade or not, we will still incur the cost of registration. So that is the cost of registration.”

EC’s new biometric register needless – Yaw Oppong

The Electoral Commission’s (EC) plans to procure a new biometric register is needless, Legal Practitioner, Yaw Oppong had argued.

Mr. Oppong believes the EC should channel its energy towards getting a credible system of verifying prospective voters rather than procuring a new biometric register.

“We should concentrate on getting one system of verification. Once we do that we will reduce this procurement. We need to ensure that we complete the registration process and avoid all these. I think it is so needless.”

Parties walk out of EC meeting 
Last week, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the People’s National Convention (PNC) together with the United Front Party, the Eagle Party and the All People’s Congress walked out of a meeting with the Electoral Commission.
According to the NDC, the EC deceived them into the meeting only for them to realise that they were there to witness the demonstration of software for a new biometric register, which they are opposed to.
The National Democratic Congress has on countless times disagreed with the introduction of the new biometric system.
It is for this reason that its officers walked out of the meeting with the Electoral Commission on Tuesday.
Explaining why they left the meeting, the Director of Elections for the NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah claimed that the parties had not discussed the issue exhaustively enough and had made the concerns known in previous IPAC meetings.
The NDC again raised concerns with it but still participated in the discussion, Mr. Afriyie Ankrah narrated.
“Our IT people together with other political parties raised counterfactuals and proved to them that there was no need for a new biometric register and we stated cogent reasons.”


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