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Opinions of Saturday, 15 December 2012

Columnist: Adelaide Arthur

Should Ghana still go biometric?

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Following some of the challenges faced in the use of the biometric verification system for this year's election, there have been questions about whether the electoral commission should go back to the manual verification that voters are so used to.

The principle of "No Verification No vote”, was basically agreed upon by all the various parties with the EC. But, with the verification came several problems including the inability of the machines to detect the identities of some voters, prior to voting.

So, did the use of the biometric verification system serve a better purpose in the general election?

Some voters could not exercise their franchise because the verification device rejected them even though they were in possession of their voter's ID card and their names were in the register.

The breakdown of some verification machines extending voting into a second day in some polling stations was a source of confusion between voters and EC officials.

These challenges however, are viewed by some political parties and voters as hazards that come with first-time application of technological procedures.

Some voters and politicians told Joy News the use of verification devices in elections must not stop.

They say, all that needs to be done is to master the use of the device.

Conversely, others still prefer the manual verification that was used in previous elections, arguing that it is less cumbersome and cannot deny voters their constitutional right.

Not only do the PPP and PNC want the continuous use of the biometric verification device, they have also proposed the adoption of the electronic voting system as used by countries like Brazil to help reduce voting fraud.

For those who were disenfranchised because the verification device rejected them, the use of the device in subsequent elections may not sound good to them.

But others still appreciate the technology as they regard it as a positive advancement of the Ghanaian voting system.

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