Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Biometric voters register key mechanism against multiple voting

Seven political parties through the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on Tuesday identified biometric system of voter's registration as a key mechanism against multiple voting and impersonation in Ghana's electoral system.

The IPAC therefore, charged the Electoral Commission (EC) to initiate systematic procedures to use the biometric mechanism for capturing data in preparation of the next voters register. "This is very necessary to deal authoritatively with practices of multiple voting and impersonation that tend to undermine public confidence in declared election results," the seven parties stated in a communiqu=E9 issued at the end of a three-day self-assessment forum at Akosombo.

The self-assessment forum was organised by the EC in collaboration with KAB Governance Consult and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) under the "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot Project".

The parties are the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention Peoples' Party, Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), and Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD) stated at the fourth in a series of post election self-assessment consultative forum. Other parties that participated are; Ghana National Party (GNP), Peoples National Convention (PNC), and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).

The parties also called on the government to provide the necessary resources on a regular basis for the EC to discharge its responsibilities. The parties also recommended a total replacement of the current voters' register, and tasked EC to streamline the procedures for compilation of the Transfer, Proxy and Special Voting list and increase the number of polling stations as well as review the number of voters per polling station.

In an interview with Ghana News Agency, however, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman welcomed the idea of biometric system but cautioned that the nation should hasten cautiously. The EC Chairman outlined modalities for a completely new voter's register for the 2012 general elections, including adoption of modern technologies and biometric registration to deal with the electoral hiccups.

Dr. Afari-Gyan indicated that however that it could be possible for the nation to phase into the biometric registration system after the national census in 2010.

IPAC also agreed to play by the roles governing political parties operations in the country, to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the future to reduce tension such as the nation experienced during Elections 2008.

The political parties and other democratic stakeholders at the forum also commended the media for their role in Elections 2008 but tasked the National Media Commission and Ghana Journalists Association to watch against negative reportage which created confusion.


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