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Persol Rekindles Biometric Debate
 
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06-Nov-2013  
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Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, EC Boss
 
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Persol Systems Limited, a wholly-owned Ghanaian software development and systems integration firm has rekindled debate of the biometric voting process, challenging the Electoral Commission (EC) to take a second look at the system it adopted for the controversial 2012 general elections.

Persol which also engages in IT consultancy said they have developed systems which when adopted would deeply enhance the credibility and integrity of the electoral process and stem the widespread incidence of fraud and rigging that characterize elections in the country.

As part of efforts to convince Ghanaians of their capabilities, Persol Systems organized a technical demonstration of their Voter Verification and Voting Kit in Accra yesterday and it attracted representatives of political parties (excluding the ruling NDC), civil society organizations and the media.

Participants took turns to interrogate the process and asked Persol Systems officials to vouch for their claims.

Michael Quarshie, managing director of Persol Systems and Geoffrey Okantey, general manager in charge of Software Development took their time to explain issues to participants.

Mr. Quarshie said that they were committed to supporting the EC to re-open and deepen the discussion for electoral reforms following the disputed election that ended up in court.

He said, “2016 does not have to be a doom situation. We can dialogue to get the stakeholders to agree on what biometric platform is best for the country in future electoral exercises.”

He said “our understanding in the area of biometric deepened when the whole electoral process was subjected to judicial analysis and as a result we have positioned ourselves to offer a game changer.”

Mr. Quarshie said that what happened during the 2012 general elections was for voters to go through what he called “Voter authentication” and not “Voter verification” as was touted.

“We are offering one-to-many and not one-to-one verification. This solution simply tells which ballot is right or wrong.”

He suggested that in order to make the system perfect, another firm could be tasked to clean the biometric data of voters captured by another company.

He said the software they would provide would take out from the system foreign materials or ballot stuffing and they would not have to depend on “numeracy skills” of the Presiding Officers or election officials.

He added that the system had been designed in stages such that one part of the process would have to be compulsorily completed before the next step could make itself available.

“For instance, if the law makes it mandatory for partitions of the Presiding Officer to fill a portion of the data before during and after the ballot and also for Presiding Officers to sign the pink sheet before declaration of the results, then he/she would have to abide by it before the system would allow another stage of the process.”

Mr. Quarshie said with their system, there was no need to print and import Statement of Poll and Declaration of Results forms popularly known as Pink Sheets in advance since there was going to be printouts of the whole process, documenting what had transpired up to the Collation Centre.

He said even though they were capable of providing a platform for electronic voting, the deep mistrust among some sections of the public in relation to the system currently meant they could not proceed to highlight the issue for now.

For his part, Mr. Okantey said the system had been designed to contain what he called “multiple electoral platforms,” adding, “It can accommodate different kinds of elections at the same time.”

He said the kits have been built to withstand any weather conditions and that the system would not generate duplicate data in case of a system breakdown saying “voters are guaranteed a continuous voting process should there be any truncation of the process.”

He said the system they were introducing is tamper-proof and verifiable by the parties and all stakeholders.
 
 
 
Source: William Yaw Owusu/Daily Guide
 
 

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