The piloting of the voter registration exercise in the Volta Regional capital of Ho ended abruptly after the biometric voter registration kit shut down.
This brought the exercise to a halt after 36 applicants successfully went through the process and were issued demo voter identification cards.
Prior to the kit going off, the system labeled information of three new applicants who had not gone through the process as duplicated. There were, therefore, turned away and not issued cards.
The system, however, booted after about an hour, but registration could not be done, with officials explaining the system was being updated in Accra.
The update could not be completed until 5 pm, leaving the registration officers with no option but to close for the day’s activities.
Officials at the Regional offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) refused to comment on the development.
Nonetheless, the Volta Regional Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), James Gunu, who observed the registration exercise expressed disappointment at the process describing it as a ”disaster”.
He indicated that the development at the registration centre depicts the EC’s unpreparedness to compile a new register and as well as conduct the general elections.
”The whole exercise for today was a disaster. It was as if the EC was not prepared and lack the capacity to do even registration, let alone conduct this election. They need to be looking at their own capacity and work at it seriously”, he said.
Volta Regional Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Emmanuel Bodja, believes the development exposed shortfalls of the system which would be addressed ahead of the registration and general elections.
”Why are we piloting the exercise, it’s to test the system and identify the challenges so they can be rectified before the main registration exercise and general elections in December,” he said.
He, however, indicated there has been a major improvement in the biometric voter registration system compared to what was used in 2016.
”I have gone through the system and realized there has been an extreme improvement on the scanners. Unlike the previous one where you have to deploy all tactics for one fingerprint to be captured. This one, once you place your fingers on it, it picks the prints.”
”The camera is very sharp, if you look at the pictures that were taken, it is very clear.” he added.
There were concerns of no arrangement made to ensure applicants observe social distancing when they visit the centre, despite the placing of veronica buckets at vantage points and screening of applicants.