EC’s pilot voters’ registration takes off smoothly

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The Electoral Commission (EC), yesterday, began conducting a pilot voters’ registration exercise nationwide ahead of the expected mass registration exercise which is to start in the last week of June.

The exercise is essentially to identify problems associated with the new voter register system, as well as its effect under various weather conditions and find ways of mitigating them.

The pilot project saw some residents, EC officers and political party officials participating in the exercise nationwide.

According to reports, in some parts of the country, only stakeholders, including returning officers and some party representatives, turned up for the exercise though it was opened to the public.

Punctual

Many have, however, commended officials of the EC for being punctual and the ease of the registration process.

Nonetheless, there were some minor challenges which have been reported to the appropriate authorities.

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A statement issued yesterday by EC said all issues identified would be forwarded to the Commission at the national level for the necessary rectifications to be made before the commencement of the mass exercise.

“All Ghanaian citizens of 18 years and above and of sound mind are expected to register where they reside when the exercise begins, with either a Ghanaian passport or Ghana card as proof of identification or have two guarantors who have already registered as voters so they can register,” the statement said.

It added that safety measures would be put in place at all registration centres throughout the country to protect applicants.

Problems to be addressed

The Acting Northern Regional Director of the EC, Lucas Yiryel, told the media that the challenges that were encountered in his region had been communicated to the head office for redress.

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“We had some issues with the machines with regard to getting the polling stations… Accra has instructed them what to do and they have resolved that issue,” he said.

“The only problem we have not addressed is in an attempt to register someone using the Guarantor form; the system was not receiving it,” Mr Yiryel noted.

Protocols

During the exercise, safety protocols put in place against the spread of the novel coronavirus were largely seen to be observed.

Per the EC’s safety protocols for the registration, it will be mandatory to wear face masks at the registration centres; people’s temperature will be checked before one is allowed into the registration centre; and there will be running water available for handwashing.

 

Also, queues are to have one-metre gaps between persons lining up to register; the scanners will be sanitised; and persons who complete the registration process will also be provided with hand sanitiser before they leave the centre.

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Training exercise

The EC is undertaking a training exercise to equip some 42,025 registration officials with the requisite skills and knowledge desired for the voters’ registration exercise.

It involves training for data entry clerks, laminators and those to be directly involved in the use of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits at the grass roots.

The officials will also be taken through the registration procedure, which will cover eligibility criteria, challenge procedures and the vouching process.

The Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at the EC, Mr Samuel Tettey, disclosed that the training exercises should be completed by the third week of this month, in readiness for the commencement of the mass voter registration.

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