The Electoral Commission of Ghana has announced a digital process to the voters’ registration process in the country a few months into the country’s general elections. This is in response to the renewed spate of the COVID-19 cases in the country.
Beginning from yesterday, Wednesday, 29th of July, the new system allows eligible voters in Ghana to book registration appointments online, from the comfort of their homes.
According to a press release by the commission, the reason for the digital system is to reduce congestion in all registration centres so as to ensure the safety of its citizens and observe the rules of social distancing against the coronavirus pandemic during the electoral process.
It also stated that this makes the commission “the first electoral management body in the world to implement a digital decongestion protocol based on a bio screening standard for electoral purposes.”
How the new digital system works
There are two different ways to begin the registration process online. This includes the Panabios solution and regular USSD.
USSD: To register through this process applicants has to start to dialing *769#, under which you can select option number three which is event management. Under the event management option, you have to select option number one which is to check in to event or venue.
The last and final step in this process entails applicants entering their registration centre code and wait for a text message with the details of a slot in the priority queue at their local registration centre.
Note that registration centre codes are to be obtained from the National Covid19 hotline which is 311. Also, applicants should comply to the rules of using a face mask and alcohol-based hand sanitizers at their various registration centres.
The Panabios solution: This option is majorly for applicants with smartphone access. They can signup for an account at ‘PanaBIOS.org’, and follow the prompts for registration to book a priority spot just in the way the USSD option works.
Nigeria is also treading this path…
This is following the announcement of the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to introduce electronic voting (e-voting) in off-season elections starting 2021.
INEC also announced in May that it will introduce electronic voting (e-voting) in off-season elections starting 2021.
This was contained in a 17-page “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic” released in the same period in Abuja, and signed by the INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. The document also stated:
“Continue to make available its electronic channels for voters to check their registration status. Pilot the use of electronic voting machines at the earliest possible time, but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.”
Note that this declaration doesn’t apply to the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo state that have been scheduled to hold in September 19, 2020 and October 10, 2020 respectively.
INEC also suspended voters registration exercise as a result of the ongoing Covid19 pandemic. Only those who already have their permanent voter cards (PVCs) are eligible to vote during the elections.
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