The Use Of Biometric Technology In Elections

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As part of the arrangements to enhance transparency and integrity in the electoral process, the Electoral Commission currently applies biometric technology in the registration and verification of voters.

For a domestic political system to be truly representative, voters need an electoral process that is imbued with integrity. Ensuring integrity in the electoral process demands that candidates, agents, voters and the electoral management body all conduct their activities in line with laid down law policies.

In today’s article, I will like to highlight some of the use of biometric technology in elections and everything you may need to know from this tech blog in Ghana.

Biometric Voter Registration (BVR)

In the compilation of the voters’ register personal and biometric details (fingerprints and photographs) of all applicants were captured.

The biometric details were matched with that of all applicants to ensure that every voter appeared in the register only once.

Biometric Voter Verification (BVV)

On Election Day, all voters will be verified/identified by their biometric details in the Voters’ Register.

Voters’ fingerprints will be scanned on a voter verification machine and compared with their details in the Voters’ Register.

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The verification of voters is to ensure that only persons on the voters roll in each polling station are allowed to cast their ballots on Election Day.

The use of this new technology has boosted the accuracy of the voters roll and will improve the identification of voters on polling day.

Manual Verification – Section 32 of C.I 94

A registered voter is required to establish his/her identity at the polling station before voting. He/she is required to produce his/her voter ID and in the absence of that reference would be made to the name Reference List for his/her details. The voter is then taken through the verification process to ascertain that he/she is indeed the one in the register, thus the barcode on the ID card or in the register is scanned for his/her details to pop up and he/she is then requested to place any of his/her fingers on the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) to ve verified.

In the event of the BVD failing to verify the voter after placing all fingers, the Polling Assistant shall take the voter through a process known as manual verification as follows;

  • Inform Agents of all political parties present at the polling station;
  • Fill a manual verification form as provided in C.I. 94 in the presence of all Candidates/Agents to be endorsed with their signatures;
  • Hand over the completed Manual Verification Form to the Verification Officer.
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The Verification Officer shall draw a horizontal line across the barcode in the register to indicate that the voter has been manually verified and such manually verified voters are to be accounted for on the statement of poll and declaration of results form as provided in C.I 94 after the polls.

Frequently Asked Questions About Elections

Who Is Agent?

During elections, a candidate be it Presidential candidate or Member of Parliament is allowed to appoint a representative, known as a Polling Agent, to each polling station in the constituency, as well as a representative, known as a Collation Agent, to the constituency centre to observe proceedings at the respective place on his/her behalf.

Who Is A Polling Agent?

A polling agent is a person who represents a political party at the polling station. Kindly take note that, every political party that is registered for elections can have two agents at a polling station or collating center at any one time.

The Importance Of Polling Agents

The Electoral Commission attaches great importance to the work of polling agents, because they act as observers of the election process. If they do their work well, they enhance the credibility of an election by helping to detect;
* Persons who pretend to be someone else in order to vote in that person’s name (impersonation)
* Persons who attempt to vote more than once (multiple voting)
* Persons who try to tamper with the contests of a ballot box
* Polling staff who do not follow the laid down procedures, or misconduct themselves.

In Ghana, it is the Electoral Commission of Ghana that is the official body in Ghana responsible for all public elections. Made up of seven members, its independence is guaranteed by the 1992 Ghana constitution.

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The current commission was established by the Electoral Commission Act (Act 451) of 1993. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan was the first substantive Chairman of the Commission from 1993-2015. On December 5, 2018, the Electoral commission chaired by Jean Adukwei Mensah reverted to the old logo Eagles with coat of arms after the controversy over the new logo per source from Wikipedia

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