Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) is officially moving forward with its biometric voter registration drive. The organization is hoping to record the biometric information of roughly 17 million voters over the course of the 38-day registration period.
To do so, the EC has set up 50 registration centers, though only ten of them will be open at any one time. Each center will be open for six days before the staff moves on to the next site. Anyone who misses their window will have the opportunity to register during a three-day follow-up period at some point in the future.
The EC did acknowledge that COVID-19 has made their task more difficult than anticipated. All of the registration centers will be following the safety guidelines of the Ghana Health Service, which include social distancing and sanitization protocols. Citizens are asked to wear masks, while hand sanitizer and soap and water are available at every registration station and capture devices are being cleaned between each use.
Unfortunately, some reports have suggested that those safety precautions are not being followed in some locations, with many citizens failing to wear masks or observe social distancing requirements. Some sites also experienced delays and technical difficulties. Performance seems to have improved as the day progressed, but most sites only managed to process a few dozen people in their first few hours of operation.
The EC announced plans for a new biometric voting system at the tail end of 2019. The organization believes that the new system will be an improvement over its existing one, and could potentially save millions of dollars down the line. However, the Ghanaian think tank IMANI Africa has questioned that logic, arguing that the EC has misled the public and that it would be cheaper to update the current system than it would be to build a new one.
Source: All Africa
July 2, 2020 – by Eric Weiss