Lilongwe, March 6: The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has adopted the use of Electronic Biometric Voter Registration System in the country in order to address the enormous challenges the commission has been experiencing in maintaining a credible voters roll.
A Biometric Voter Registration involves the use of biometric technologies with the use of computers, fingerprint scanners and digital cameras to capture the bio data of applicants.
A MEC statement signed by the Chief Elections Officer, Willie Kalonga, and made available to Malawi News Agency (Mana,) says the adoption has been made following wide and extensive consultations with various stakeholders on voter registration solution.
“The commission has, hitherto, been experiencing enormous challenges in maintaining a credible voters’ roll. The major source of the challenge was the data capturing system in the field, which the new system will replace,” reads the statement in part.
It is the fingerprints and other details which will be stored in the computer from which the voters register will be produced says the statement.
The statement further says that the system will assist in detecting multiple registrations unlike the old method which failed to capture such details as it did not have the inbuilt mechanism for accurate capturing of fingerprints.
“The old method of registering voters did not have the inbuilt mechanism for accurate capturing of fingerprints which will assist in detecting multiple registrations and, therefore, there were instances where some unscrupulous individuals registered more than once.
“Biometric technology will make the detection and hence removal of multiple registration from the system resulting in the production of a more accurate and reliable register for all elections,” says the statement.
This means that the upcoming registration exercise will have an entirely new voters’ register that will replace the existing one and all voters identity cards.
In addition to capturing fingerprints, a voter’s photograph will also be taken on the spot. The photograph will be printed on the new securer voter identity card that will be issued to the voter at the point of registration as well as in the voters register.
It is expected that every registered voter and those who will have turned 18 at that time, must be registered anew. All applicants will have to physically present themselves at the registration centre in order for them to provide the required bio data and for the electronic capture of fingerprints.