The Electoral Commission (EC) pilot exercise for the expected vote registration in the western region has been suspended. According to sources, the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) used to collect biodata of candidates developed a fault. The exercise started yesterday at the commission’s regional office. All attempts by the EC officials present to restore the BVD machine proved futile.

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EC Officials at the location had to stop operation temporarily even though they had started earlier and about 15 people available for registration left the EC regional office. The regional office currently only has commission staff and party representatives, because all candidates are permanent.

According to NPP Deputy Secretary of the Western Region Rex Jonfiah who was present, he would wait for the Electoral Commission’s Regional Director to receive an official comment on why the exercise was stopped.

“I was told that they were using a machine and did not have a backup, so I wanted to understand the extent of the problem, which is why the entire exercise was stopped,” he said.

“… we were here yesterday and saw that the exercise went very smoothly. I guess what happened can be resolved. So, let’s be patient and wait for an official explanation.”

Western Regional Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Joe Nelson, said the party was justified.

“The timing is wrong. The fact is, everything is unnecessary. The Electoral Commission believes that the voter registration can be trusted and so the Electoral Commission had used this for many exercises and the EC considered this reliable,” he said.

“If you have difficulty testing the new mass registration system 6 months before the general election, what do those who take part in the actual exercise believe? In fact, when will the anomaly be corrected and there will be a second pilot round. Where So, what is the exercise credibility? itself? “he added

Ato Mahama, a Sekondi resident who was in the office to test the process, said: “If we have this challenge in the regional office, you can imagine what will happen to polling stations, especially those in remote areas.”

As of Monday 73 people registered on the first day of the pilot exercise which consisted of 53 men and 21 women. This process takes an average of 10 minutes for a candidate.

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