The Electoral Commission (EC) is assuring the public and stakeholders in the upcoming December 7 elections that Biometric Verification Machines expected to be deployed on election day will be in good condition.
This follows a news conference held in Tamale in the Northern Region by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), where it hinted of plans by the Commission to deploy faulty machines to some polling centers.
Acting General Secretary of the party, John Boadu indicated the party will not accept any deliberate delays in the deployment of the machines to its strongholds.
But the EC in a statement signed by the EC’s Head of Communications Eric Kofi Dzakpasu says it has no such plans.
He assured that the “Commission has made provision for sufficient backups at each of the 216 District Offices. These will be deployed to any polling station which would require them. As a result, we do not expect any polling station to operate without a fully functioning BVD.”
“It had been agreed at IPAC that in case of failure of any of the machines to verify a registered voter, provision has been made for manual verification of the voter in order not to disenfranchise him/her,” he added.
Read the full statement below:
EC HAS NO PLAN TO DEPLOY FAULTY BVDs
We would like to assure the general public, particularly those who are voting on December 7 that the Commission does NOT deploy faulty Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) for elections.
All our BVDs are fully tested to ensure their optimum functionality before they are deployed for electoral activities. Therefore it is totally inaccurate for any political stakeholder to claim that they have uncovered a non-existent plot by the Commission to deploy faulty machines to their strongholds.
For the avoidance of doubt, we would like to repeat that on election day, we plan to do the following:
1. The Commission will deploy 2 BVDs to each of the 28,992 polling stations across the country. In total, the Commission is deploying over 70,000 well tested BVDs on election day.
2. The Commission has made provision for sufficient backups at each of the 216 District Offices. These will be deployed to any polling station which would require them. As a result, we do not expect any polling station to operate without a fully functioning BVD.
3. All staff who would be operating the BVDs on election day are currently undergoing rigorous training to prepare them for the task ahead.
4. Additionally, 4 technicians will be deployed to each of the 216 district offices to provide technical support and rapid response to each of the polling stations to deal with any unforeseen technical challenges at any polling station within the district on election day.
5. These same machines were used in all the by-elections we have conducted since 2013 and the district level elections in 2015 without any challenge or complaints.
6. It had been agreed at IPAC that in case of failure of any of the machines to verify a registered voter, provision has been made for manual verification of the voter in order not to disenfranchise him/her.
7. Finally, we would like to urge any stakeholder in the elections who claims to have “uncovered a plot” to deploy malfunctioning BVDs to its strongholds to make details of the said plot available to the Commission to enable us take preemptive actions to forestall its occurrence.
It does not help anyone to just put out such claims in the media without providing any iota of proof. We would like to emphasise that the ‘Special Walk-in Service’ created by the Commission, is an additional platform for the political parties to table all their concerns and issues for urgent discussion and resolution.
We urge them to take advantage of it for the good of the electoral process.
Signed: ERIC KOFI DZAKPASU
Head of Communications