|EC On Course For 2012 Elections|
|Friday, 17 February 2012 08:23|
The chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has said the delivery of equipment and other materials for the 2012 elections is on schedules as a result of the timely release of funds.
He also announced that the EC would undertake a biometric registration of eligible voters, including prisoners, in all the regions and districts of Ghana from March 24 to May 5, 2012.
Dr Afari-Gyan stated this when he made a presentation at a forum on the biometric register and the electronic system of verification in Accra yesterday.
The forum, organised by the Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG), was to educate journalists to enable them to adequately inform the public on the new system of registration and the voting process in general.
Biometric technology is the use of computer methods to identify persons by means of their unique features. In terms of identifying people, biometric technology may be used for civil or forensic purposes and different standards and controls govern the application of the technology in each area. It is the civil type of biometrics that is used in the registration of voters.
The 2012 voters registration will represent a changeover to a new system but not every aspect of the registration system will be new.
Giving a breakdown of the budget of the EC, he said estimates for the registration and later the presidential and parliamentary elections stood at GH¢243,528,305.
He said GH¢148,942,378 was for the biometric voters registration; GH¢7,477,966 for the exhibition of the provisional voters register and GH¢87,107,961 for the presidential and parliamentary elections.
So far, he said, GH¢134,726,083 had been released, with the EC receiving GH¢50,000 in July 2011, GH¢37,396,911 in November 2011 and GH¢47,329,172 in February 2012.
Dr Afari- Gyan said registration would be done at registration centres, which would also serve as polling stations during elections, in line with the basic principle of where you register is where you vote.
He noted that 7,000 kits would be used for the biometric registration at the 23,000 polling stations and added that since the kits would not be enough, polling station in each district of the country had been grouped into cluster consisting of four polling stations.
‘’A team of six persons will be responsible for the registration of voters in each cluster. The team will spend 10 days at each polling station before moving on to the next polling station. So, altogether, the actual registration period will be 40 days throughout the country,’’ he said.
According to him, a registered voter would be issued with an ID card embossed with his or her picture on the spot and a bar code containing the ID number.
He said biometric voters registration, if done well, would ensure that a person’s name appeared only once in the entire voters register of the country, but he was quick to add that the kit would not know the difference between the thumbprint of a foreigner and that of a Ghanaian and between that of a minor and that of an adult.
He, therefore, urged all Ghanaians to be vigilant to guarantee free and fair elections in December. He said the biometric register and the electronic system of verification could not ensure free and fair elections if the people failed to be vigilant and colluded to cheat.
Turning the spotlight on the presidential and parliamentary elections, Dr Afari-Gyan said there were some outstanding tasks relating to constituency demarcation.
He said first, the final district population figures had not been officially released by the Ghana Statistical Service which carried out the 2010 Population and Housing Census and added that constituency demarcation could not be based on unofficial population figures.
‘’This is an obstacle because, on the basis of the existing demarcation formula, a district must have at least one constituency. So you see, the commission has to wait,’’ he added.
On the issue of verification, Dr Afari- Gyan stated among other things, that the verification device could fail on Election Day and said that was a matter that required serous attention.
‘’We should not go to sleep, hoping that over 23,000 verification devices scattered in various environmental conditions around the country will all work to perfection,’’ he said.
Unscrupulous people, he added, could deliberately make the machines break down, while some could steal the machines, just as they stole ballot boxes. The devices could also need repair and replacement, he said
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Ransford Tetteh, urged journalists to remain balanced, fair and accurate and support the conduct of free and fair elections.
He said the stakes in the 2012 elections were high and the media needed to ensure that they always got it right.
Source: Daily Graphic