Politics of Tuesday, 29 December 2015
Some major political parties are cautioning against a possible abuse of the manual verification system during the 2016 elections.
Electoral Commission announced days ago, its intention to use the manual verification process in next year’s polls alongside the biometric verification.
The announcement follows a unanimous resolution between the EC and the Interparty Advisory Committee (IPAC) to adopt the two verification processes.
The exclusive use of the biometric verification process in the 2012 elections became a subject of controversy and was part of the issues raised by the opposition New Patriotic Party when it challenged the verdict of the elections declared by the EC.
The petitioners claimed that the EC officials had allowed some voters to vote without being verified contrary to the no-verification-no-vote agreement.
It appears the parties have decided to resolve the matter in the 2016 elections by allowing both the manual and biometric verification process in next year’s polls.
But some political parties say the system could be subject to abuse.
General Secretary of the CPP, Nii Armah Akomfrah wants the EC to put systems in place to make the process more transparent.
He is calling on a limit to the number of people who can be manually verified.
“The down side is that we are relying on the incorruptibility of the presiding officer.
“There is the need to be some limit on the number of persons that could be thumb printed on be manually verified. If we exceed that number we believe the vote in the polling station should be annuled,” he said.
The PNC General Secretary, Atik Mohammed also warns the systems could be abused.
“Even the best of systems is open to abuse. What we need to do is to ensure that this does not become a victim to abuse.
“If we all agree that people do not resort to the use of manual verification more than the electronic device,” he said.
He added the manual verification should only be used when all attempts to electronically verify the person fails.
The New Patriotic Party’s Martin Agyei Mensah Korsah also shares the concerns by his colleagues.
“The manual process is not a substitute to the biometric verification process. It is only coming in as a back up so that we move away from the no verification no vote.
“…There are certain conditions that must be met before we resort to manual verification process,” he pointed out.
The National Coordinator of CODEO, Kofi Arhin agrees the political party reps have a case.
He said a voter who would be manually verified must fill a form to provide information including his biodata, names of parents and house number in order that his details to be verified later on.
“We need to be very careful not to quickly resort to the use of manual verification process,” he said.