Mec hopeful on Voter Registration Bill
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is keeping its fingers crossed that Members of Parliament (MPs) will take advantage of the budget meeting to debate and pass the Electronic Bio-metric Voter Registration (EBVR) Bill.
Mec Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, said the bill has been designed to prevent problems of multiple registration and facilitate proper identification of the under-aged during registration.
Ironically, Mec has set June 26 2018, as the day it will start registering voters using a system whose law is yet to be debated and passed by the National Assembly.
Speaking on the sidelines of a master trainers’ workshop in Lilongwe, Ansah said Mec does not have a budget line for optical mark recognition (OMR), which could pose a serious challenge to them if they resolve to revert to the old system – OMR – in the event that MPs do not pass the bill into law.
“We believe that, by June 26, the MPs will have passed the bill into law. We are aware that some people have not registered, and that our computers will not read any other document other than the NRB [National Registration Bureau] card. So, we are going to do the registration side by side with the NRB staff to give everybody a chance to register with us,” she said.
Ansah said, with the electronic biometric voter registration, problems such as voters having transposed photographs, misspelt names, among other challenges, will be history.
She said the proposed system has several advantages such as ensuring a clean voters’ roll, and at the same time, facilitating the registration process faster; hence, registering more people within a short time.
During the launch of the 2019 Tripartite Elections calendar in Lilongwe, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu, assured stakeholders that the government would give all the necessary support to ensure smooth implementation of the electoral process.
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