CODEO: Manual verification should be last option

General News of Tuesday, 29 December 2015


Voter Biometric VerificationFile photo

The National Coordinator of the Coalition of Domestic Elections Observers (CODEO), Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, has cautioned officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) not to rush into using manual verification at the least chance during the 2016 elections.

“We need to be very careful not to quickly resort to the use of manual verification process,” he told Joy FM Tuesday.

Mr. Arhin’s comment was in agreement with concerns raised by some political parties in the country as far as a potential abuse of the manual verification system is concerned.

He advised officials to complete a form for those, who would be manually verified, to collect information on their biodata, names of parents, and house numbers for later confirmation.

The EC, in a press statement, recently indicated that the biometric and manual verification system will both be used after consultations with stakeholders at an Interparty Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting.

The Director of Elections of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah said that “the manual process is not a substitute to the biometric verification process. It is only coming in as a backup, so that we move away from the ‘no verification no vote.’ There are certain conditions that must be met before we resort to the manual verification process”.

His argument is backed by the General Secretary of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Nii Armah Akomfrah, who is also requesting for a system to be implemented to check the use of the manual verification.

He further suggested there be a limit to the application of the manual verification system.

“The downside is that we are relying on the incorruptibility of the presiding officer. There is the need to impose some limit on the number of persons that could be thumb-printed to be manually verified. If we exceed that number we believe the vote in the polling station should be annulled,” he noted in an interview with Joy FM.

The General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Atik Mohammed, also suggested that verifying an individual manually should only be done when the biometric option fails.

“Even the best of systems is open to abuse. What we need to do is to ensure that this does not become a victim of abuse if we all agree that people do not resort to the use of manual verification more than the electronic device,” he stated.