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GC Calls For National Biometric Registry
Date Uploaded: May 04, 2017

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GC Calls For National Biometric Registry

By Joseph Toe

MONROVIA, May 2 (LINA) -The Governance Commission (GC) has called for the creation of a national biometric registry with special features that can generate identification cards for voting, civil servants and social security purposes.

The call was contained in the Commission’s 2016 annual report on Liberia’s electoral system for 2017 released recently.

The modernization of voter registration and the use of the biometric device for voting are taking place around Africa, the report stated, adding, “Liberia cannot be an exception.”

According to the report, recent disagreements between the National Identification and Record Agency (NIRA) and the National Elections Commission (NEC) about how to structure cooperation and undertake procurement dragged on until time had lapsed.

The report indicated that as a result, NEC could not benefit from the proposed arrangement and therefore missed an opportunity to introduce a biometric system for registration and perhaps for voting in time for the 2017 elections.

“Besides the need to create a more efficient process of voter registration, the dissemination of information regarding time and place of registration requires special attention,” the report noted.

The National Elections Law specifies that the public advertisement of the place and time for voter registration should begin “no later than two weeks before the first day of registration.”

NEC will do well to advertise the registration about a month before the process begins and to do so in all available media, including local language broadcasts on community radio stations and through the use of the social media, the report pointed out.

It also noted that civil society organizations, political parties, religions bodies and a range of other groups can be enlisted in promoting voter registration.

The report added that special attention needs to be given potential new voters, especially young people who have never voted, but will be eligible by Election Day 2017, adding that schools and the educational system can play a vital role in this endeavor. 

LINA JGT/PTK

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