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General News of Friday, 16 November 2012

Source: Joy Online

No verification machine, no voting; Afari Gyan declares


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The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has announced that voting will be suspended at any polling station should the biometric verification machine break down.

The biometric verification system is meant to improve the integrity and credibility of the elections by ensuring that only valid registered voters vote in the 2012 elections.

EC Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan says to maintain the credibility of the polls and reduce the possibility of unnecessary confrontation, voting should be suspended where the verification system breaks down.

Addressing selected news editors Thursday, Dr. Afari Gyan, revealed that the biometric verification system has been incorporated into the law regulating the conduct of the December 7 polls and as such voting cannot proceed without the verification machine.

The EC Chairman explained that after considering several options regarding what to do in the event of a breaking down of a verification machine and te views expressed by the political parties on the matter, it has been decided that, “no verification machine, no voting”.

In view of this decision, the EC, Dr. Afari Gyan said, would make available back-up verification machines to ensure a smooth voting process.

The biometric verification machine was the subject of a heated controversy between the two main political parties, the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) a few months ago.

Whereas the NPP said the use of the machines would guard against multiple voting, the NDC argued that the machine would only make voting cumbersome.

With barely three weeks to the polls, the EC has announced that it has increased the number of polling stations from 23,000 to a little over 26,000, with each polling station catering for an average of 700 voters.

In all, about 14 million voters are expected to take part in the December polls.

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