I have been off social media for a while to attend to a very important assignment but I have been forced to put on hold my assignment so I can clarify Mrs. Jean Mensah’s ignorance after I saw a release from her (Jean Mensah) yesterday that, they will be embarking on a new voters register for the 2020 election. The first question that crossed my mind as an IT savvy person was; “does this woman really understands what a Biometric Register is?”.

Not to bore you with any technical terms, a biometric register uniquely identifies an individual by using the biometric traits captured during registration. These includes, but not limited to the iris, fingerprint and voice, and, in the case of the EC, the fingerprint was captured.

So if every individual can uniquely be identified in a register using their fingerprint, why spend money to do a new one? This just doesn’t make sense.

The EC should should have this on record that, nowhere in the world are people subjected to re-registration for new biometric data unless there is a 100% technology change (hardware & software). An example of such a case is the National Identification Authority (NIA) where there is a complete (100%) change in terms of technology and vendor. Even in that instance, a lot was done to see the possibility of porting the old data into the new one. Is the EC Boss telling us that there will be a change of vendor or technology hence the need for a new biometric register?

I’m sure one of her reasons for opting for a new register is because of the said bloated nature of the register. If that is her main reason for calling for a new register, then there is no cause for alarm as i stated in my previous paragraph, that biometric data uniquely identifies an individual through an authentication process and luckily for us during voting there is an identification and an authentication process so they can use the authentication process to clean up the register.

Let me further explain;
An identification process is where the voter submits his or her voter ID to the EC official. At that point, the EC official is able to identify the person ONLY based on the picture on the voter ID card. Now for the EC officer to be sure of the person, he scans the barcode on the voter ID and requests the voter to put his or her finger on the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) for a 1:1(One To One) matching. At this point, the voter is confirming his or her identity (Authentication). If authentication is successful, the voter is *lissued* the ballot paper to cast his/ her vote.

Before i conclude, let me offer this advise to the EC Boss that it will be an exercise in futility to do a new register when there is an already existing process for identification and authentication during voting.

The EC Chair should know that a dead person can’t be identified and authenticated hence a new biometric register is not the solution.

Yayra Koku


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