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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Columnist: Ben Antwi

EC biometric voter registration, another medium to spread coronavirus

With the last update from government, Ghana had recorded over 5000 positive Covid-19 cases with the Bono Region being the recent region to join other affected regions which has made Ghana one of the countries with the highest recorded cases in Africa.

Last month, almost all institutions issued directive to their workers to stop using biometric clock in device. The rationale behind this directive was to prevent the spread of the Covid19.

This action by head of institutions has generated the debate on the use of the Biometric Machine during the purported Voter Registration journey the EC is still pushing to embark on.

According to both Dr. Elizabeth Hughes of the United States Infectious disease Center and Prof. Manfred Breckenridge of Boston Medical Laboratories, the use of biometric devices is one of the means by which the virus is fast spreading.

The non-usage of biometric devices is one of the measures adopted by across the world upon the advice given by Dr. Elizabeth and Manfred.

At a time even advanced countries have kicked against the use of biometric devices, Ghana Electoral Commission is gearing up to deploy biometric machines to polling stations across the country to register people in its planned compilation of new register. The EC, especially its nonchalant head, Jean Mensah, must be told in the face that it cannot compile new voter registration in the midst of covid19. The reason is very simple - the biometric machines the Commission will use for the finger print verification has been identified as one of the prime means by which the virus is spread. For instance, in a polling station of more than 500 people queuing to register, all of them must put their fingers on biometric machine. We have a looming calamity at hand if this is allowed.

The EC has said that it has plans to provide hand sanitizers at the polling stations for use by both its staff and registrants. It has also argued that the screens of the biometric devices will be cleaned regularly. It is truism that hand sanitizer is not a guarantee for killing the virus on the machine if it has virus on it. More so, if sanitizers will be used on the screen after each registrants, the possibility of the lens weakening is very high.

This will lead to breakdown of the machines frequently and it'll caused delays at the polling stations and also the EC may have to spend more money to procure more machines.

Companies who use to have biometric machines have stop using them so why would the EC venture into such dangerous arena?

Jean Mensah must be stopped before the EC become another source to spread the virus.

Let's come together and resist the EC before they push all of us into a pith of hell. Today it is clear that the agenda of the EC to compile the new register is no more about seeking the interest of Ghana but to help Nana Addo and the Npp to rig the elections.

Let's value our lives by resisting the Electoral Commission from becoming a new source of spreading this deadly virus.

By Ben Antwi, Political Science student, Dansoman

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