COVID-19: EC releases safety protocols for voter registration exercise
The Electoral Commission (EC) has given an indication of the safety protocols it hopes to abide by if it begins the registration exercise for the compilation of a new electoral roll.
The process to compile a new roll has currently been suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among other things, it will be mandatory to wear face masks at the registration centres, people’s temperature will be checked before one is allowed into the registration centre and there will be running water available for handwashing, according to an artwork posted on the Commission’s social media pages.
Queues are to have one-metre gaps between persons lining up to register, the scanners will be sanitised and persons who complete the registration process will also be provided with hand sanitiser before they leave the centre.
The EC is yet to come out with a date for the compilation of the new voters’ register.
“The Commission is however sensitive to the current state of affairs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will abide by the necessary precautions and safety protocols in the execution of its mandate when it deems it appropriate to begin the compilation of the register,” the EC clarified in its statement.
The EC has been under fire over its move to discard its old voter management system in favour of a newer system which will among other things have a facial recognition ability.
The new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) has necessitated the compilation of a new electoral roll to better address verification challenges that could occur during elections.
Resistance from Minority
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has said his side will resist any attempt by the EC to register citizens for a new register amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The context is, don’t just think about your staff, think about the health, safety and lives of citizens who will be queueing for the purpose of getting registered,” Mr. Iddrisu said in a Obuoba News interview.
The Minority also questioned the priorities of the government and the EC amid the novel coronavirus pandemic because of the allocation of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to the commission.