|Pic: An example of the BVR Kits utilized by National Registration Bureau that MEC has adapted for the Biometric Voter Registration exercise|
As Malawi prepares for the 2019 Tripartite Elections, the Malawi Electoral Commission MEC says is it is expecting to register more than 9 million eligible voters during the upcoming digital Voter Registration exercise as compared to the 2013 voter registration exercise where MEC registered 7.5 million voters through the previous, manual, voter registration system.
This year’s voter registration exercise will utilize a Biometric Voter Registration Kit which will instantly register voters by scanning data from the newly introduced National ID to produce a voter registration certificate in less than half a minute.
The BVR is reported to be significantly faster and more efficient as compared to the time-consuming Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) system of collecting voter data on paper then scanning the data onto a computer which saw people queuing for hours waiting for a turn to be registered as voters in 2013.
Speaking during a demonstration of the Biometric Voter Registration process at Riverside Hotel in Lilongwe at the recent training of newly recruited MEC stringers, MEC’s Deputy Director of ICT Ebony Msikawanthu explained that the digital innovation in the voter registration process is expected to reduce queues at voter registration centers as MEC officials will now be able to register hundreds of people in a single day at each registration centre.
According to Msikawanthu, the BVR is also expected to eradicate some anomalies such as such as misspelled names and wrong voter photographs that were prevalent in the last voter registration exercise.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Body is currently conducting civic education awareness exercises to sensitize Malawians on its first ever digitized voter registration process.
According to MEC, the first phase of the Biometric Voter Registration exercise runs from 25th May 2018 to June 7, 2018 covering; Mchinji District, Dowa District, Kasungu District, Kasungu Municipality, Nkhotakota and Ntchisi District.