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Register ‘biometric’ or lose your vote – Afari Gyan
From: The Ghanaian Times          Published On: August 16, 2012, 12:10 GMT
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Register ‘biometric’ or lose your vote – Afari Gyan

Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, on Tuesday stated that anyone who fails to register in the up-coming biometric voter register exercise should count himself or herself out since the exercise will replace the existing register.

The exercise is expected to start on March 24 and is required that every eligible voter present a national identity card as a proof of Ghanaian citizenship and of voting age.

At a dialogue with the Headquarters Management and Advisory Board of the Police Service and personnel on the biometric exercise in Accra, Dr. Afari Gyan said the exercise was not 'a mighty' or complex as was perceived. Rather it is a process to capture data of prospective voters through a technological means instead of manually.

The exercise, he said, would be in four stages; namely the collection of data of eligible voters, the compilation of the data collected into a provisional voters register, exhibition of the voters register and the printing of the voter register which would then become an official voters register.

Dr. Gyan said what that means was that all the previous voter registers would then become null and void and could not be used any longer for any official purpose, saying that the Electoral Commission has been mandated to carry out that exercise.

He therefore urged the public to co-operate with the EC to ensure a successful exercise.

He stated that though voter registration in Ghana is not compulsory, eligible voters should take the exercise seriously.

"This is a fresh registration that will replace any other voter registers and it is therefore important to emphasis this that you cannot vote with your old voter register this is because it will be invalid.”

"This is a complete replacement of the voter register and apart from that the register could be used as an important document for planning,” he said.

Explaining the workings of the machine, Dr. Afari Gyan said that apart from the face, the two ears and ten fingers, the machine could also capture the voice or anything that was of an identity of the prospective voter.

In the case of a person who does not have all the fingers or has lost one of the eye or ear, Dr. Afari Gyan stated that the Commission would indicate in a report that that person has a temporally or permanent trauma, among others things.

The Electoral Commission Chairman said his outfit had acquired 7,000 of the biometric kits. Each of the machines would be manned by six people in four polling centers, adding that 40 days would be used for the exercise.

The Inspector-General of Police, Paul Tawiah Quaye, described the exercise as important and historic in the country's electoral process. .

He said in 1992, Ghanaians adopted a multi-party form of government which recognised the electioneering process as an important aspect in the country's democratic dispensation.

“The need to apply advance technology to enhance the efficiency of the voters registration and verification exercise in order to ensure the credibility of this electioneering process therefore cannot be over emphasised", he said.

Mr. Quaye said since the advent of the Fourth Republic, the police with the support of other sister security agencies had never relented in their efforts to accomplish their constitutionally mandated role of maintaining law and order and creating a secure and peaceful environment for free, fair and transparent elections.

"It is mainly in this regard that we believe the introduction of the biometric voter registration and verification system at this particular time is a step in the right direction," he said.

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