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Opinions of Friday, 14 September 2012

Columnist: Minkah, Alexander Osei

Problems of the Biometric Voter Register in Ghana

NPP-Italy would like to draw then of the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) that, the final publication of the electoral roll in Ghana has created the awareness of foreseen disorder and problems in Ghana's election, come December 2012.
It will therefore be necessary to for the EC to come out and address the issues and assure Ghanaians of peaceful and credible results for the elections in Ghana.
We do not have to take things for granted and wait till the last day for pandemonium to reign at the polling centers.
The credibility of the biometric voter's register must be questioned if people are reporting of their names missing from the electoral roll and nothing is done to avert the situation.
Let us do an elementary breakdown of a biometric voter registering process.
The whole process involves:
1. Voter records being created and stored.
2. The data is transmitted to a general data center.
3. At the general data center, there is a multi-biometric matching.
Issues to note:
1. multi-biometric matching
2. Scrutinizing data and ruling on suspected duplicates
3. Managing the central database. Who does that?
Therefore, it is inevitable to have a central storage that handles biometric templates of the voters.
This data storage imposes high security demands as it is possible to tamper with the biometric templates in a fraudulent manner.
It must be noted that attack on the templates can come from two directions:
1. A third Party.
Anyone (people who work on the data for instance) are third party group.
This class of people can easily replace a number of biometric templates against other templates which would allow them to manipulate the results of an election.
Thus we would like to trust the credibility of the Electoral Commission (EC) on data manipulation.

2. The Government:
The attacker that has a much more direct access to the biometric templates is the government. The government has access to every data in the country and can do anything it wants with the data.
This means the government can manipulate the results of an election in a straight forward manner to favor them. However we believe there shall be no comprise with the data security agents if they really exist.
Now in looking at the registration process, from a point of view of clear thinking, one can easily understand that the process is handled by humans and therefore can tamper with the outcome from the initial process to the final electoral roll.
Who has the records now? What is the total number of voters at each polling station, constituency, region and then the nation.?
Electoral fraud can be envisaged if we do not have knowledge of the biometric voters registering process. The subsequent effect is that, Ghana can be turned into chaos and disorder during the election day.
We have to ensure the integrity of the registration process and protect our democratic status which is at grade “B”, if my grading is accurate.
Alexander Osei Minkah
Chairman, NPP-Italy