General News of Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Source: GhanaWeb

Ghana leads the world

…In biometric registration and verification of voters in the just ended election

Ghana has scored another first in her democratic credentials by successfully using biometric system to verify over 11 million people on the same day.

A few weeks ago, Ghana completed a successful election using the most advanced technology available to worldwide.

The 2012 election marks Ghana’s successful sixth election since returning to Constitutional rule in 1992.

Prior to the voting day, the Electoral Commission agreed with all the political parties that all potential voters must go through the biometric verification process before being allow to cast their ballots.

Earlier this year, between March and May, Ghana successfully registered 14 Million potential voters within 40 days, in what is undoubtedly the best biometric registration exercise ever to take place in Africa.

The country’s nascent democracy made even greater history by becoming the 1st nation in the world to verify voters’ identity using biometric electronic means, prior to allowing the voter to fulfill their civic duty. To date, no other nation in the world has ever achieved this.

And with Ghana doing that with few glitches, it has broken a world record by having approximately 13 million people verified within 48 hours. The previous record was 3.5 Million in India.

Since the 7th December elections were not problems and challenges free, improvements can be made as with any project; but this is a tremendous improvement compared to the Kenyan situation which was marred with delays because of violence, technical glitches caused by power outages and a lack of passwords for the kits.

Ghana officially joined her fellow African countries, including Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Nigeria in the use of a Biometric Voters’ Register for its general elections in March this year— a decision which was welcomed by domestic and international observers.

Of the total 26 000 polling stations across the country, 413 stations did not finish the voting process on the 7th and had to continue the following day. Despite the earlier glitches, voting passed off peacefully on the 8th.

The challenges, ranged from late arrival of election materials, operational problems and training issues and also technical challenges with some of the verification machines.

Simply put, 413 locations out of 26,000 equates to a mere 1.6 % which means a total success rate of 98.4%.

On the eve of voting, (December 7th), an observer from the United States of America noted that he was amazed to see rural Ghana outshine the US by verifying all voters in the field.

All in all, the people of Ghana should be should be extremely proud of our country, of our democracy and of our electoral processes.

Though the use of the biometric verification process delayed the declaration of the result, observers generally labeled the exercise as successful.

Despite the enviable success, Ghana seeks to improve upon its electoral process in 2016 and possibly quell all forms of technical glitches, which may occur.