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Election 2020: New voters register will prevent manipulation of December 7 polls – Jean Mensa

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Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa says compiling a new voter’s register will prevent the manipulation of the December 7 election results since the existing register is highly compromised.

Addressing a forum in Accra organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation, the EC boss mounting a strong defense for the new electoral system said it was borne out of the Commission’s desire to ensure a credible, free and fair election.

“A bloat in our register could have dire consequences for any election and as a people, we should go to an election with a mindset that it has to be credible. We should leave no room for manipulation and I believe that that is the essence of a biometric register.”

Jean Mensa also added that using the current voters’ register will force the Commission to rely mostly on manual verification since capturing of fingerprints in the last registration exercise was poorly done.

“Our experts advised us right from the onset, that in acquiring the new system we will be changing the system operating the biometric voter management system-and it meant that we have to migrate the data from the old system to the new system.”

“Because the quality of the fingerprints is so low, when you go on election day and you are trying to verify, you realize that your fingerprints cannot be verified.”

“What happens then is that you come with a card and we allow you to vote. This could lead to manipulation in the sense that the card may not belong to you and because we don’t have the feature for facial recognition, you could come in with the card and you are allowed to vote and if there’s collusion at the polling station level, it could lead to a high level of manual verification.”

The EC boss said this was not a risk the Commission is ready to take.

“The result was that we could risk and indeed we did stand to risk losing a lot of data of citizens who have registered. You will go on voting day and your names will be missing from the register and this was not a risk that we wanted to take. I can imagine the fury and uproar that would occur in this country if people go on voting day and their names were not captured.”

Madam Jean Mensa further indicated that the reason for compiling a new register was to promote free, fair, and transparent elections.

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