Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said that the planned biometric voter registration in the 2019 tripartite elections will eradicate registration problems faced in the previous elections.
MEC Chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Ansah made the remarks in Parliament Wednesday during MEC demonstration of registration using the national Identity cards in Parliament so that members of parliaments appreciate the process.
She assured the system would among others prevent the challenges of multiple registrations, registering offoreigners and facilitate properidentification ofunder-aged during registration.
“With the electronic biometric voter registration, these problems will automatically be eliminated. The process will entail extracting the relevant information for voter registration from the existing database,” Ansah said.
According to the MEC Chairperson some of the problems in previous elections included voters having transposed photographs, misspelt names, sometimes not found at all at the centre they registered, multiple registrations and the Commission in some cases inadvertently was also registering foreigners or the under-aged due to lack of proper identification system.
She explained the Biometric Voter registration system have several advantages such as it would ensure a clean voters’ roll and at the same time would facilitate the registration process faster, hence registering more people within a short time thereby people would spend less time on the queue.
Ansah pointed out that there would be only one identification document which is the national ID at the registration centre and during voting.
“Therefore, encouraged to ensure that one form of identification, the National ID should as far as possible,” she added.
The Chairperson noted that MEC has approached the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to amend the relevant provision in the law so that the National ID should be the only document for purposes of identifying eligible voters.
Ansah revealed MEC had planned to procure hand held devices to read the National ID in order to extract the relevant data from the ID and that National Registration Bureau (NRB) had provided some registration equipment
“I am pleased to advise that we have been given 1,499 biometric registration kits which were being used by the NRB. This has saved our budget by MK1.8bn. These kits have the same function as one we were looking for in the hand held devices. The data in the kits has been cleared and it is only available for the Commission to use it for purposes of voter registration,” She said.
During the launch of 2019 tripartite elections calendar in Lilongwe, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu assured government would give all the necessary support to ensure smooth implementation of the electoral process.
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