EC to stick to ‘no-verification-no-vote’ policy for 2020 elections

The Electoral Commission (EC) will use the no-verification-no-vote policy for the 2020 elections.

As part of efforts to upgrade its Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS), the EC plans to do away with the manual verification of voters, according to the Commission’s Director of Elections, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, who spoke on Eyewitness News.

“We want to eliminate the possibility of depending on manual verification where people who decide to vote will be verified by individuals.”

The EC plans to have a facial recognition verification technology as a backup to the biometric verification process.

Dr. Quaicoe thus said the commission wants “to go by no verification no vote so if the two [fail you, then you may be an imposter].”

“The essence of the biometric process is to eliminate human elements so that the decision as to who qualifies will not be determined by men who can be compromised… Those who will be failed by the fingerprint [verification] will be fewer and instead of them depending on manual verification, they will resort to facial recognition.”

Despite backlash from some political parties, the EC is on its way to preparing the new register which has a budget of GHS390 million.

The registration exercise will take place between April and May 2020 over a period of 50 days.

Caution from expert

Despite these plans for an upgrade, a technology consultant, Maximus Ametorgoh cautioned that facial recognition may not solve all verification challenges during elections.

“The [facial recognition of the new register] is not foolproof. Over time, there will be issues with it. People with similar faces can open the same device or even if you create a 3D of the person’s face. There are many other ways to open the device if people look alike.”

He also described the move by the EC as a costly venture and advised the electoral body to consider a gradual adoption of facial recognition technology.