November 29, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Scores of voters have vented their disappointment over the poor quality of voter identity cards currently being distributed by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) across the country.
NEC commenced the distribution of voter ID cards on Monday, 20th March, at 3,000 centres across the country.
The government had reportedly spent millions of Dollars on biometric registration machines with promises of ensuring a robust, efficient and secured voter registration and verification.
NEC had promised that the production of multipurpose card that would be used within the West African region.
But despite the promise and assurance from both NEC and government, voters have had to accept poorly laminated cards that are susceptible to easy replication by unscrupulous persons.
Speaking to Concord Times at the Church of Christ Primary School Registration Centre, Abdul Koroma expressed that he was shocked after he noticed that the voter ID card is just a laminated paper.
“We were told that the voter ID card would be biometric containing all the details that were extracted from us by the registration officials during the registration process. They also promised that the card would be used for many purposes,” he said.
Another aggrieved voter, Mamusu Conteh, also expressed disappointment over the quality of the voter ID cards, thus casting doubt on whether the elections of March 2018 would be credible. She expressed that the card, if not properly secured could easily be tampered with.
Hassan Kanu expressed similar sentiment, insisting that the 2012 voter ID cards were of better standard than the current ones.
NEC has been criticised by some section of society who blame them for the state of affairs. However, Director of Media and External Relations at the electoral body, Albert Massaquoi, blamed it on dearth of funds ahead of the production of voter ID cards as promised, adding that the commission had to make do with what they had at the time so as to be within the stipulated timeline.
He allayed the fears of voters that some security features were inserted to prevent unscrupulous individuals from tampering with the cards or producing mass replica versions.