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EC ‘successfully’ retrieves more than 7,000 missing names

EC Chair, Mrs Jean Mensa

The Electoral Commission (EC) has revealed that most of the names purported to be missing from the new voters’ register have been found.

The chairperson, Jean Mensa, called the missing names saga an unintentional error and assured Ghanaians the problem is being resolved.

There were reported missing names from the register at various centres.

The opposition NDC claimed at least 29,442 names were also missing from the new voter roll.

In Ashaiman, for example, flagbearer of the NDC, former President John Dramani Mahama claimed 7,000 names could not be found in the register even after the EC had updated it.

The worst affected was Binduri in the Upper East Region where at least 7,605 names have disappeared, according to the NDC.

Other areas included Ketu South, Anlo, Akatsi South, Ketu North, Keta, Jirapa, Karaga, Tamale South, Tolon, Klottey Korley, Ashaiman.

However, addressing a press conference on Monday, September 28, Mrs Mensa said the EC has “successfully retrieved and continue to retrieve valid applicants, who were missing from the register. We have updated our electronic register with the missing data”.

“An example is the case of Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region. The purported 7000-plus applicants, who were said to have been deliberately removed from the register, are on the electronic register.

“Indeed, in the case of Ashaiman, currently we have a deficit of 165 persons and we are expecting that these persons will come onto the register through the process of inclusion”.

She cited unintentional human and administrative errors, the process of exportation of as some of the challenged which resulted in some shortfalls in a number of areas.

“In a nutshell, our technology performed optimally as expected, however, in some areas, the human elements fell short, leading to some gaps in the data that they experienced during the exhibition exercise”, she said.

She said the EC was working to resolve the challenges completely.

“I’m happy to note, however, that through a process termed end-of-life, the Commission has transferred the majority of the data that is on each of the biometric registration kits that they were used during the registration on flash drives.

Duplicate ID card numbers

Among the challenges was the duplication of voter ID card numbers.  Mr Mahama complained, his running mate Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang found out during the exhibition exercise that her number had been duplicated.

“They said she had to come herself because her number was duplicated, someone else also has the same number,” he said.

“She had to drive from Komenda to Elmina where the district office of the EC is located. At Elmina, they took the old card from her, destroyed it and replaced it with a new card.”

Mr Mahama expressed fears that other voters who have duplicated ID numbers may not be able to go through the process to rectify this error and might be disenfranchised on voting day.

But the EC said 88,000 duplicate voter ID numbers were detected in their provisional register which has been resolved.

This was due to the use of offline registration kits hence all voter ID cards were issued independently. However, in transferring to the final database, the duplications were flagged and these have been addressed.

The Commission was in the process of issuing new ID cards.

Mrs Mensa emphasised that the current voter database possessed by the EC does not contain any duplicate voter ID numbers.

“In the spirit of transparency, the Commission has instructed its officials to allow Political Parties and their agents to monitor the distribution of the duplicate cards to the affected persons,” the EC chair added.

The EC further stated that de-duplication processes have not been shelved and would continue as planned.

“The process of de-duplication and indeed biometric identification has been the bedrock of the EC’s IT system. Without de-duplication, the register will not contain unique individuals only”.

A total of 7,969,887 persons verified their details during the 10-day provisional exhibition exercise.

According to the EC, 698,404 voters verified their details using the commission’s short messaging system (SMS), while 7,271,498 voters verified their details physically at the various centres.

The total number of persons reflected on the provisional register stands at 17,007,26.

“We witnessed an increase in the register by 44,420 persons,” Mrs Mensa added.

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