NEC Plans Biometric Voting  For 2023 -As Electoral Body releases full election Timetable

MONROVIA – Ahead of the ensuing 2023 general elections, the National Elections Commission has said that plans are in advance stages to set in motion the use of biometric technology for unique real time voter identification for every registered voter in the country.

Addressing a major press conference yesterday at the Headquarters of the electoral body on 9th Street Sinkor at which time the full election timetable was released to the public, the Chairperson of the Commission Madam Davidetta Brown Lassana  said for the  past one year the Commission has been making preliminary plans for the 2023 electoral process  with emphasis for transitioning from the optimal mark recognition registration system which has been in use in all previous elections to a new biometric technology system for unique real time voter identification for each registered voter.

She explained that with the new biometric system there will be eradication of voter impersonation, voters’ duplication from the voters’ registration, issues relating to intentional errors during the data entry process and removal of duplicate records from the voters’ registration system, among others.

“The methodology for the planned voters registration through biometric exercise will begin on December 15, 2022 and will end on March 17, 2023,” she narrated, adding that during the voter’s registration exercise, portable tip-tablets with scanners will be used.

“The data entry process will be performed by use of a customized software to capture each applicant’s particulars, including facial image. Fingerprints scanners will be used to capture the thumb prints of each applicant. An initial reduplication exercise will be performed at each registration center, and registration cards with special features will be printed and issued to voters on the spot on the after registration,” she assured

According to her,  NEC has decided that the biometric voters’ registration process will be done in three phases on a regional basis,  and that the registration team will be stationed at the registration centers.

“This means that when the registration teams are deployed in the region, the registration centers will be open for three weeks. And thereafter, the team will move to the next region,” she asserted.

The three regions start with Region-1 which will cover Montserrado, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Cape Mount where the biometric registration will start on December 15, 2022 and will end on January 6, 2023.

She named Region-2 to include Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa and Margibi Counties and added that the process will start in these counties on January 21, 2023 and will end February 10, 2023.

   She also identified Region-3 to include Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru Maryland, Nimba, River-Gee, Rivercess and Sinoe counties and said that the voter’s registration process will start there from February 25, 2023 and will end on 17 March 2023.  

“The Commission will take further steps to publish these key dates, the customized software that will be used during the biometric registration process, setting up observers, training of NEC staff and the arrival in country of the biometric equipment before the start of the registration.”

The Nation Election Commission, working with the government, has adjusted the election budget to US$61 million, she disclosed, saying further that  the government has approved the election budget for 2022, and that  the amount of US$20 million representing funding to enable the NEC conduct the preliminary activities had been approved..

“To date the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has disbursed to NEC the amount of US$6m,” she explained, noting that issues relating to election regulations are being handled. Amongst other issues she said NEC has revised the election financing, the handling of procurement activities which she said are in the process of working with the PPCC and the recruitment process amongst others. 

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