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General News of Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Biometric machines may fail on December 7 – CODEO

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), has expressed worry about the possibility of biometric machines malfunctioning on Election Day.

This is due to observations the coalition made during the just ended voter verification exercise, where they observed that the machines failed to function in about 6% of exhibition centers observed.

“CODEO Observers reported seeing biometric verification devices (BVDs) in nearly all (99%) exhibition centers observed. The BVDs, however, could not function properly in about 6% of exhibition centers observed. Where the equipment functioned properly, some registered voters who showed up at some centers (8%) could not be verified biometrically,” a statement from CODEO stated.

According to CODEO, the fact that the equipment malfunctioned during the verification exercise raises concerns because much pressure was not exerted on them.

The statement signed by its National Coordinator, Albert Arhin, further recommended to the Electoral Commission to outline modalities it will use to tackle the issue on Election Day.

“The Electoral Commission should, as a matter of necessity, identify all malfunctioning equipment and ascertain the reasons for the malfunctioning to help address possible equipment failure on Election Day. The Electoral Commission should clearly identify, outline and or publicize the modalities for dealing with the potential cases of biometric verification failures to reduce possible tension associated with turning eligible voters away on Election Day because of verification failures,” the statement said.

Other recommendations are:

The Electoral Commission should undertake an accessibility audit of all polling stations to be used in the December 7 polls and take steps to address challenges associated with siting of polling stations to help improve accessibility to persons with disabilities and the elderly, among others.

The Electoral Commission should improve its sidelines to, and training of, temporary officials regarding accreditation and access to exhibition centers/polling stations to avoid situations where duly accredited observers are turned away by such officials.

The EC should also ensure that its officials stick to guidelines and regulations governing the conduct of such exercises, in particular time for opening and closing of centers.

CODEO reiterates its call on the EC and the NCCE to deepen collaborative efforts in support of civic and voter education.

Finally, political parties must recognize the role of exhibition exercises and the responsibility they have in ensuring a credible voter register, and improve their particpation in future exhibition exercises.