Ghana has a history of tension and disagreement when it comes to election results, mainly due to bloated registration and identity fraud. A biometric voting system is being put into place in attempt to clear up some of the confusion, although the problem of underage and multiple voters cannot be solved simply through biometrics.
The problem is that the nation’s 23,000 polling stations aren’t in any way linked to share registration information. Consequently, the same person could go to as many different stations as possible in one day and vote as many times as they see fit. IT consultant Bonzie Acquah explains, “It means that I could go to ‘A’, register, clean any indelible ink I’ve been marked with and still be able to go to center ‘B’ and register with a different shirt probably. I will still be able to get two ID cards.”
Acquah went on to explain how crucial it is that the same systems voters used to register be made available for verification on Election Day – otherwise the registration wouldn’t serve much of a purpose. With this new system in effect Ghana’s voting stations will now be interlinked, eliminating the possibility of multiple voters.
“…There will be a central database somewhere, where all the polling stations are going to refer to, to be able to verify that yes, this is me. I registered at this polling station and this is the correct picture,” said Acquah.
Over 42,000 personnel have been trained to educate voters on how the system works, as well as help overcome any speculative fears that fingerprinting and facial scans could cause cancer.
Another significant problem that needs to be addressed is the simple fact that some places in Ghana are either without, or have unreliable sources of power. The Electoral Commission’s director of public affairs Christian Owusu-Pare stated, “In our particular case, the registration is 11 hours a day. Besides that, because of the unreliable nature of power supply in some parts of the country, we have also procured generators.”
Ghana has a moderately stable economy already, and with the implementation of biometric voter registration that stability will continue to improve.
Edited by Jennifer Russell