NEC to address missing voters’ data in 7days
August 31, 2017 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Commissioners of the National Electoral Commission have assured Members of Parliament, Civil Society, media and the general public that they would address the many errors of data misplacement and photos of eligible registered voters within the next 7days.
It could be recalled that numerous concerns of data mismatch and data mismanagement were raised by citizens across the country during the week long exhibition process, and needed to be addressed by the Commission ahead of forthcoming general election.
The Executive Sectary at NEC, William Addo Davies, said the errors came as a result of combined registration that was done together with National Civil Registration Authority (NRCA).
He said NEC was currently working towards completing and finalising the voter register before the stipulated six months period.
“According to the Public Election Act, before any election, NEC should have completed voter registration process within 6 months. That is why we are targeting such timeline. We assured you that by September 7th, 2017, we would have clarified everything,” he said.
He said the errors occurred as a result of the transfer of documents from NCRA machine to NEC, as there was a possibility for data misplacement during that process.
“We do not have enough time during the registration process because NCRA has to do theirs thereafter. After the 31st August which is the closing date for exhibition, we will address the issues before the 6th or 7th September, 2017,” he assured.
He stated that the electoral body would make provisions for those that failed to verify their information after the voters ID cards would have been distributed in November.
For Commissioner Miatta French, there were gaps that needed to be addressed immediately as it was part of their mandate though their work was time bound.
She said they were working together to ensure that the elections are conducted on the slated date of March,7th 2018, noting that out of the 17,000 voters that were registered, only 1.7% raised issues.
“There are issues, but we will redo them. You know, we did not prepare budget to buy machines for the registration process based on the fact that NCRA was also to do registration and the two processes were to be carried out, so there was no need for it. We will address it,” she reassured lawmakers.
However, Commissioner Stephen Aiah Mattia, the Electoral Commissioner – East, admitted that the issues raised were true, but promised to find ways to amend them, taking into consideration significant loss of data from the provisional voters’ register.
He told the House that they were moving data from NCRA to their machines which would possibly have the tendency for mistakes.
“Hence we are transferring and it is possible that we may have either surplus or deficit data misplacement of registered voters across the country and the subsequent recapture of data. It is not something that cannot be addressed,” he said.
He reported on the publication of statements of all claims and objections, which, he said have already been made and further revealed that inquiry of voter register would be conducted from 29th -31st August 2017.
Meanwhile, Hon. Hassan Sheriff expressed worried over the timeline given to the commission to properly address all the issues raised.
“Do you think that everything will be put in place properly because we have to give a report of this meeting held here today to the Speaker of the House,” he questioned.