The Electoral Commission is proposing an amendment of CI 75 to allow for attestation during the day of election.
According to the EC, the move will help prevent registered voters not verified by the biometric machine on the day of elections from being disenfranchised.
Speaking at consultative forum on voter registration on Tuesday, the Chairman of the EC, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan suggested that attestation should be allowed on election day if it is accepted during registration.
He said the proposal will follow the same format as what happens during voter registration exercises.
During voter registration exercises, applicants who cannot produce the required evidence of identity are allowed to bring two registered voters to vouch for them by filling a form.
Addressing the media, the EC Chairman said: “I am calling attention to this because it may have implications in our attempt to find the solution to the problem that had difficulty with the biometric registration device.”
He indicated that his outfit is “thinking ahead” because “a lot of people were turned away on election day even though they had gone through part of the process to the last bit where the biometric verification device will not recognize them.”
Dr. Afari Gyan pointed out that some jurisdiction use this attestation policy therefore, it will not be out of place to implement it in Ghana.
He maintained that “at the beginning of the process, if this is allowed, the suggestion is that maybe at the end of the process, it should also be allowed because it is very painful to deny a person who has gone through the process” not to vote on election day.
But the various political parties have vehemently kicked against the proposal by the EC.
According to the parties, they will oppose any attempt to replace the ‘no verification, no vote’ rule currently in place.
The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia indicated that the introduction of a human factor during the voting process is likely to distort the election results.
“Once we are adopting this technology, we don’t want any human factor that will tamper with the results of that technology but if you allow this attestation, you wouldn’t know where it will end,” he opined.
He pointed out that the issues at stake “do not have to do with fairness at all; it is not an issue of fairness.”
A leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Peter Mac-Manu mentioned that since the 2012 elections was the first time the technology was being used, further training will likely take place ahead of the 2016 elections to correct the problem therefore, attestation is unnecessary.
He said: “If it happened, it was the beginning of biometric verification and like the chairman said; we are going through further training and further innovations in the technology so by 2016, we should up our understanding the technology and the equipment to meet these challenges.”
The General Secretary of the Progressive People’s Party, Kofi Asamoah-Siaw told Citi News, political parties “don’t want a situation where we create opportunities for people to manipulate system.”
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana