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30.04.2008 General News

EC INTRODUCES DIGITAL CAMERAS

By Salifu Abdul Rahaman - newtimesonline.com

THE Electoral Commission (EC) is to introduce a new data capturing system involving the use of digital cameras for its voters registration exercise ahead of the December presidential and parliamentary elections.

This will replace the Polaroid instant camera films which the EC had been using over a period of time but which are now out of production.

The acting Director of Public Affairs of the EC, Christian Owusu-Parry, told the Times yesterday that the delay in the arrival of the digital cameras has necessitated the indefinite postponement of the reopening of the voters register, originally scheduled for May 8 to 17.

The EC announced in a statement on Monday that it was putting off the reopening of the register because of unanticipated difficulties in the procurement of the digital equipment.

However, Mr Owusu-Parry explained that the postponement would not affect the Election 2008 programme. 'We don’t think that will disorganise our calendar for the year,' he said, adding that the programme is flexible enough to take care of such setbacks.

Explaining further the reason for the shift to digital cameras, Mr Owusu-Parry said information made available to the EC indicated that the Polaroid company no longer manufactures the films for Polaroid cameras.

He said the new set of digital equipment, referred to as 'Work Station', comprises a digital camera and a printer.

Mr Owusu-Parry said the digital camera enhances data capturing because it does not require the use of film as with the Polaroid instant camera. The EC undertakes periodic re-opening of the Voters Register before general elections to enable eligible voters to register and exercise their franchise.

The last voters registration exercise was conducted in 2006.

Mr Owusu-Parry explained that between 2006 and now, a lot of people have turned 18 and have the right to register and vote in an election.

He cautioned people who have already registered to vote not to indulge in multiple registration stressing 'this exercise is only for eligible voters who do not have their names in our register.'

It is an offence under the electoral laws of the country for anyone to engage in multiple registration,' he said, adding that offenders are liable for prosecution.

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