The Biometric Voters Registration Exercise at Rolyat Castle.


INTRODUCTION:
The much talked about Biometric Voters Registration Exercise got underway in all polling stations across the country. The exercise would be taking place in turns every 10 days from one registration centre to the other. Ghanaians from all walks of life are trooping to their polling stations in their numbers and the Electoral Commission is satisfied with the patronage of the registration exercise. However there were some challenges as the exercise got started. Here are some of the views of prospective voters in the December 2012 polls at one registration centre called Rolyat Castle in Accra.


Felix Awuah (Car Dealer)
“I have been here for 30 minutes and I am still in the queue waiting to be registered. What has delayed the process so much is that the biometric terminals are not picking the finger prints of many people so you are therefore asked to wait until the programme is able to pick your prints.
Quiet a number of people have also had their details successfully captured by the computerized system so they have no problems and as you can see, all of these people standing over there have their cards.
I suggest that at every registration centre, a computer expert be stationed there to resolve these problems when they come up.”


Elizabeth Aubynn (Business woman)
“The ladies and gentlemen conducting the registration exercise here are doing a very good work because of the patience they are working with in spite of the stress and the huge number of people who are trooping here.
Although I came here at half past nine I am yet to have my turn and it is already eleven- thirty six. The only explanation we have been given for the delay is that the scanner of the computer has frozen and it takes quiet sometime before it gets back to work.
It is quiet unfortunate that people have gathered so much interest in taking part in this registration exercise and yet not much arrangement has been made to accommodate all of them.
Certainly, the registration exercise was started too late and that is one of the reasons we have had to bring too much pressure to bear on the machines being used in the registration exercise.”


Anita Ludtteroit (Beautician)
What I can say since I arrived here is that the exercise is going so well and I am sure that in the next one hour about sixty people will have been registered.
The only difficulty is that a lot more people arrived very late at the centre and they are in a hurry to get registered and that is what is causing so much confusion here.
I believe that everyone of us here have a good reason for leaving behind our work to participate in this registration process so we must all be patient.
I also want to suggest that the date for the ending of the registration exercise be extended else many people will be disenfranchised out of no fault of theirs.
The registration exercise must certainly be extended all over the country because there has been a lot of interest generated and we must make sure that we assist them to cast their ballot in December.”


Albert Agyare (Farmer)
I have gone through the process already and I have my I.D here with me as I am talking to you.
 Physically the I.D’s are the same compared to the previous one but this one comes with more details about the persons who have turned in to be registered.
I prefer this system of registration because it would be difficult for anyone to go to any polling station to cast their ballots two or three times as it happened in many places in this country during the 2008 elections and the years before that.
The electoral mal-practices which have characterized the politics of this country is gradually fading away and I am sure that another system which is more credible and would block all the loopholes is being brought in to replace the old system.
If India with a population of 170 million is able to register all of its electorates in 1 day, then what could possibly be preventing Ghana from also doing same given how far we have come after 55 years of independence from British Colonial rule?”


Harriet Nana Serwah (Networker)
I think what has caused a bit of confusion at this station is that people came in and did not bother to ask who was the last person at the station.
So just when the registration officers decided to allocate numbers in order to make the process a bit more orderly, there was a rush for numbers and those who have been here earlier could not get numbers which puts them in front. It is obvious that by five in the evening everyone would have had their turn.
Another problem is that there is just too much writing and paper work and that has also delayed the process substantially.
I do networking and I do know that it is possible to feed in the details of voters into the system and then have the computer print those details onto the I.D’s immediately on hard plastic cards like the ID’s of most private companies without wasting anytime at all.
In future, we should be looking at computerizing the whole registration exercise so that workers should not be spending valuable time at the polling station although this exercise is also crucial and very important for the development and the politics of this country.”


Joshua Gyan (Entrepreneur)
The only challenge we are facing here at the Harvard School or the Royalt Castle is that the tumb print pad cannot identify some of the finger prints so that is what is delaying the whole process.
 If you get to the computer and it is not able to scan your finger prints, then it is obvious that you would have to wait until it is able to do so.
Sometimes the fingers just are placed on the machine wet and if the man behind the computer forgets to clean it, then you would be required to stay a bit longer until the error is rectified.
I also want to take advantage of the private companies not to hold their workers in their work places for too long because they are Ghanaians and they cherish so much the right to choose leads them.
I do know that in their countries of origin they participate fully in the electoral processes and that is why I insist that they should release their workers to go out and get counted.”


Tajudeen Amadu (Student)
The right to vote is enshrined in the constitution of Ghana and the only license which will permit us to participate in the electoral process is the I.D cards and before you get the I.D cards you must register.
 We can only decide who leads this country because we have the right to vote and be voted for and for that matter I want to call on all Ghanaians to participate in this registration exercise because it is our duty.
If you are happy about the manner in which the President has managed the affairs of the country and you want him to continue in that fashion then wherever you are just get close to the registration centre and take part in the process because that is very necessary.”



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