The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has urged all citizens to turn up for voter registration in 2017 as the country adopts a new biometric voters’ roll.
Rita Makarau, the chairperson of ZEC reportedly emphasised how the voters’ roll for the 2018 elections would not make any reference to the system used in the 2013 elections since the old system did not use biometrics.
The new biometric voters’ roll will capture a voter’s image (the face) and fingerprints as part of core features to identify someone.
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ZEC is currently mapping out polling stations which will be used as centres not only for voting but for registration as well. Each citizen will be registered to a single polling station and their name will feature on that single polling station.
Registration is expected to start in May 2017 and last until the end of the year. In the lead up to the registration, ZEC will be working on the procurement of the system.
Earlier reports have indicated that the system will cost approximately $55 million. The government is anticipating that this system will increase transparency and accuracy with voters and elections as one of the issues plaguing past elections were ghost voters.
Biometric registration has however also come under scrutiny for cases of malfunctions associated with fingerprint readers that fail to work (in Nigeria even the President was affected by this) during elections (in some cases voters were urged to wash their hands before using the system) plus technical issues related to power supply.
image credit – VOA Zimbabwe