News Column

Eligible Voters to Register Afresh - NEC

August 13, 2014



THE National Electoral Commission (NEC) said on Tuesday that all eligible voters have to be registered as part of updating the voter register.

The NEC Chairman, retired Judge Damian Lubuva, said in Dar es Salaam that all eligible voters - with or without - present annulled elections cards must be registered using smartcard technology. Biometric Voter Registration kits will be used to take finger prints of all ten fingers, a voters' picture and signature.These clarifications come at a time when there are different views among some citizens on who really will need to be registered at the voter register when the exercise begins.

Biometric Voter Registration differs with an earlier technology used - 'Optical Mark recognition' (OMR) where a person was required to fill in a form, take only one finger print and a picture, something Judge Lubuva said gave some leeway for a person to register more than once by using different names without being recognised.

"All eligible voters will have to be registered afresh under this new system and get new voter cards," he said.Explaining more, Judge Lubuva said updating voter register is been done as per the requirements of the law and needs from stakeholders.

He said that from the 2010 elections, there has been concern from various stakeholders including political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and voters on the need to update the voter register.

"Such concerns make the voter register's authenticity questionable," he said.

According to existing laws, NEC should update voter register twice between one election and another.

"Such legal requirements and concerns from stakeholders necessitate NEC to carry out this exercise before the referendum and general election in 2015,' he noted.

Commenting on the preparations of the voter register exercise, the Director of Election, Mr Julius Mallaba said it is going on well.

He said that NEC has already established some new registration centres which have increased from the earlier 24,919 to 40,015 throughout the country.

According to the director, procurement of registration equipment including Biometric Voter Registration Kits has already been done.

He said a data processing centre and a strategy to provide voter education and various publications is ready.

Mr Mallaba said NEC has already held meetings with various stakeholders including editors, religious leaders and political parties to discuss and get their views concerning voter register exercise.

"We appreciate their views, we are working on them," he said, adding that NEC expects to meet other groups such as youths, women and people with disabilities.

NEC is legally mandated to register voters in the voter register and updating it for the Presidential and Parliamentary election in the United Republic of Tanzania.


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Source: AllAfrica


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