Thursday August 7 2014

We will use IDs data for 2016 polls, says EC

By Solomon Arinaitwe

Parliament- The Electoral Commission yesterday said it is using data being captured during the ongoing mass registration for national IDs to generate a voters’ register for the 2016 elections because the government failed to provide the electoral body with money for its own voter system.

The 2014/15 Budget estimates tabled before Parliament’s Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs indicated that the electoral body had proposed to purchase a Shs100b system dubbed the Real Time Voter Verification System, money the Finance ministry has not provided.

Under the proposed system, voters at the projected 30,000 polling stations in 2016 would be identified based on their finger prints and any attempt at multiple voting would be nipped in the bud, the EC had argued.

The commission had made a bid of Shs180 billion for the 2016 polls, but only Shs117 billion was provided, leaving a Shs63b shortfall that has put the election of committees for special interest groups like Youth and PWDs in jeopardy.

A $1,000 (Shs2.5m) machine would be deployed at every polling station to curb multiple voting if the cash is provided by 2016.

“The system uniquely identifies a voter based on their biometric data already captured and stored within the system. The current process of biometric data captured during the mass enrollment programme will be used for voter verification during polling,” read a description of the working of the system.

MPs then questioned how the electoral body would depend on data born out of an exercise that the government has admitted has been marred by malfunctioning kits, extortion, unreliable power supply and delay in supplies to carry out voter verification.