The Electoral Commission has said it will not extend the biometric voters' register exhibition exercise which ended on Monday. The ten day exercise which started on September 1st took place at all polling stations across the country. It was to enable registered voters check and confirm their details on the register.
Some political parties have called for an extension of the 10-day exercise which ended Monday citing low patronage and missing registers as some challenges necessitating the extension.
But the electoral commission says it will not. If you did not take advantage of the just-ended exhibition to confirm your status as a registered voter, then you possibly have missed out completely.
The heavy traffic which characterized the biometric voter registration exercise at most centers was visibly absent during the exhibition with few people trickling in to confirm their data as the JOYNEWS team noticed at the Jack and Jill exhibition center on the last day on Monday. Patronage was low, and it was the same at the Roman Ridge Exhibition Centre, also in Accra
The low turnout has been blamed on low publicity and education by the Electoral commission, but the Public Relations Officer of the EC, Christian Owusu Parry disagrees. He said “We’ve had several occasions to talk about this exercise on TV and Radio. We had to intensify the publicity in the few days to the exercise, using a lot of Radio and Television Jingles and our own officers using publicity vans on the field to sensitize the public. We are not considering any extension at all”.
He said the SMS service is still available to those who would still need to check and verify their details.
With the exhibition of the voters’ register over, the EC is now expected to compile the final register for use in December.
Meanwhile Mobile Content, providers of the EC voter verification SMS mobile platform which allows for verification of biometric details via mobile phones says there are no financial benefits for the electoral commission. Under normal circumstances, profits made via this platform, would have been split between the EC, Mobile Content and telecommunication service providers.
General Manager Conrade Nyur tells JOYNEWS the transaction is social rather than commercial based. As of Saturday, 8th September 2012, about 500 thousand people had checked their biometric data via the text messaging platform provided by Mobile Content through the electoral commission. Although this is just a fraction of about 14 million registered voters, it is still indicative of a relatively fast adaptation to the technology.
A text message costs 30 Pesewas, which according to Mobile Content, is the barest minimum charge possible given the processes and taxes involved in the transaction.
Verification via text messages continues until the December 7 elections.