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Mec gets biometric registration kits from National Registration Bureau

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The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has received 1,499 biometric registration kits from the National Registration Bureau (NRB) to be used in voter registration exercises.

Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said the commission would announce the date for voter registration after the launch of the 2019 tripartite elections, which was held in Lilongwe Tuesday.

Mwafulirwa said Mec would use biometric voter details such as finger prints and photos from citizenship identity cards issued by NRB during voter registration.

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He said Mec would not issue new identity cards, saying national identity cards would be scanned and all the data will be captured from the NRB database.

“During voter registration, Mec would not collect biometric voter details such as finger prints and photos. The National ID card will be scanned and all text data captured directly from the card. The biometric details will be extracted from the NRB database,” he said.

Mwafulirwa said it is a legal requirement that, in preparation for any election, Mec should conduct voter registration, adding that registration would help Mec know the number of people who will vote per centre for planning purposes.

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“It is a requirement of the law that, in preparation for elections, Mec should conduct voter registration. Apart from that, voting is not compulsory in Malawi; we need people to express their intention to vote by registering. This helps the commission to know how many people will vote at a particular centre. This helps in logistical planning like how many staff to deploy, ballot papers to print and quantities of voting materials to provide,” he said.

Mwafulirwa further said, while NRB is registering anyone aged 16 and above, voting is for people aged 18 years and above.

He said Mec has put in place measures to accommodate Malawians who may have missed registration with NRB and those who may have lost their national identity cards.

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