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Can EC compile new Voters’ Register as scheduled?

Sat, 6 Jun 2020 Source: Albert Futukpor

The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that it will begin the registration exercise for the new Voters’ Register to be used for the December, 2020 general election from the last week of June until July. The EC says the exercise will start each day from 7am to 6pm. It will take place at all the 33,367 polling stations, which will serve as registration centres nationwide.

It says “The cluster system of registration will be used during the exercise. It will be done simultaneously in all the constituencies nationwide with each cluster consisting of five registration centres. In all, there will be five phases during the registration period with each registration team working for a period of six days in each phase within the cluster. However, a day is set aside to assemble and prepare the materials for the next phase.”

The EC’s methodology means that the 33,367 polling stations will be compressed into 6,673.4 registration centres or clusters. Out of this figure, 1,334.68 clusters will be registering people simultaneously for six days. Now, as projected, a little over 16,500,000.00 people are expected to be registered at the end of the exercise. This means that 495 people are expected to be registered at a polling station. Therefore, five polling stations compressed into one cluster means 2,473 people are expected to be registered within six days at each cluster during each phase of the exercise. The registration officials will work 11 hours each day. Eleven hours each day multiplied by six days translate to 66 hours, which when converted into minutes, will be 3,960. Now dividing 3,960 minutes by 2,473 people expected to register at each cluster in six days, will translate to 1.6 minutes. This means, to complete the registrations exercise as scheduled (ending of July), the EC must register a person within 1.6 minutes (less than two minutes).

This calculation does not take into account the possibility of technical hitches and the fact that the exercise may not start exactly at 07:00hrs as scheduled for each day. It also does not consider the number of days set aside for mop up exercises as those days will not have any significant impact on the number of people to be registered.

At the end of the two-day pilot voter registration exercise conducted by the EC at all regional capitals from June 02, to June 03, Dr Serebour Quarcoo, Director of Elections at EC said it took between three and eight minutes to register a person.

If all the over 16,500,000.00 people expected to register, actually turn out, then I dare say that the voter registration exercise will be completed somewhere September. The question is: Will the September deadline be feasible for preparations towards the conduct of the December, 2020 general election?

Columnist: Albert Futukpor

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