Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has called on political parties to sensitise their supporters on the electronic biometric voter registration the electoral body will use during registration for the 2019 tripartite elections, to ensure smooth running of the exercise.
MEC Commissioner for electoral services, Jean Mathanga made the call at Kamwendo in Mchinji recently when the Commission conducted a demonstration exercise on biometric voter registration for stake holders in the district.
“We came to Mchinji to run proof the concept for the new system of voters’ registration because we will be rolling out the first phase of registration on May 25, 2018 before we roll out the exercise.
“We decided to run the proof of concept just to check how the equipment is working for all stakeholders so that in turn, they can inform other people on how effective the equipment is,” she added.
She said in the previous elections, the commission was using Optical Mark recognition system where voters’ information was collected on paper and caused challenges.
“In the first system, voter information was taken by the registration staff on paper, then the papers were transferred to our head office where the data was put into to our machines.
This posed a lot of challenges.
“Sometimes there could be errors because they could not record the names correctly, loss of paper and in some instances, head teachers in registration centres could not release all the papers,” she explained.
The MEC Commissioner said the biometric voter registration would ease the registration process, save time and also ensure that only bonafide Malawian citizens register for the polls.
“It took more than 10 minutes just for one person to register, but the new system takes two minutes for one person to register,” Mathanga added.
She then called on people to ensure that they register for the national identity cards to ensure they register as voters for the 2019 polls.
Mchinji District Commissioner, Rosemary Nawasha, said she would organize a meeting for all political parties in the district to map the way forward on how the district can sensitise the residents on the new bio metric voters’ registration.
Malawi Electoral Commission will on 25th May, 2018 embark on voters’ registration exercise for the first phase of the 2019 tripartite elections which will cover five districts namely Mchinji, Kasungu, Nkhota-kota, Ntchisi, Dowa and Mchinji.