Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) has begun a trial voter registration exercise to test the functionality of biometric voter registration equipment and also to train personnel of the election agency on what will be expected of them during the real exercise. Nigeria, for its part, has also scheduled a mock voter accreditation exercise for 4 February to test the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) before it is fully deployed for general elections on 25 February.
NEC prepares for full biometric voter registration
Voter registration in Liberia is set to begin in March, but the election umpire is already taking measures to test its newly acquired biometric voter registration system which will be used for the exercise, reports The New Dawn.
The publication cites the communications director of the NEC, Henry Boyle Flomo as saying the trial voter registration is taking place in Margibi County ahead of the general exercise scheduled to kick off on 30 March.
The official explained that the trial will allow the NEC to identify errors and lapses and then take appropriate measures to correct them before the exercise gets underway in two months’ time.
On how the biometric voter registration process will be conducted, Flomo explained that each registrant will have their ten fingerprints and their face photo captured, including other personal details, after which a voter ID will be issued them.
Meanwhile, the NEC has assured Liberians that the national ID card will not be the only ID requirement for the voter registration exercise.
The outing by the elections agency puts an end to fears among politicians and citizens that the ID card would be the only ID credential accepted to prove citizenship, writes Daily Observer.
Opposition politicians had argued that obliging citizens to present the national ID card before they register to vote would prevent many potential voters from exercising their civic duty.
Liberia went through a tough moment to get its biometric voter registration system in place.
Nigeria plans mock voter accreditation with BVAS
As Nigeria counts down to the 25 February National Assembly and presidential elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says a nationwide mock voter accreditation exercise has been programmed for Saturday 4 February.
According to Daily Trust, the exercise will take place in 436 polling units to which 436 BVAS machines will be deployed.
“Twelve polling units have been designated in each State of the Federation and four in the FCT on the equality of the country’s 109 Senatorial Districts for the exercise. A comprehensive list of the polling units, including their names and PU Code numbers, as well as their distribution by State, Senatorial District, Local Government and Registration Area (Ward) will be uploaded to the commission’s website shortly,” says INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
Going by the election agency, the exercise is to test the integrity of the biometric machines and to assure Nigerians they will be no failure of the technology during the actual voting.
INEC has also called on voters whose polling units have been earmarked for the mock accreditation to show up during the exercise. After the mock usage, the BVAS devices will be reconfigured, officials say.
In the meantime, INEC has also given assurances that the BVAS system has been tested and proven to be solid and cannot be compromised by cyber criminals.
This assurance was given by the INEC Director of ICT Lawrence Bayode as he made a public presentation recently on behalf of the INEC boss, per News Express.
Bayode also discussed other issues related to general preparations for the election. He mentioned among other things that no eligible voter will be allowed to do so on polling day without presenting their Permanent Voter Card (PVC).
The distribution of PVCs is due to end today 30 January nationwide and INEC says there are no plans to extend the deadline.