The Star (Nairobi)

9 November 2012

Kenya: Clerks to Learn How to Use BVR Kits On Monday

The exercise of voter registration got off to a slow start countrywide with several centers experiencing technical hitches and delays. However, the ... ( Resource: Voter Registration Starts in Kenya

An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) agent demonstrates the use of newly acquired Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kit at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi on November 6, 2012.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is set to begin countrywide training on electronic voter registration.

The programme will start on Monday in eight regions to educate Kenyans on how the biometric voter registration works. The training will take place at the KICC , Kakamega Social Hall, Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, Mombasa Municipal Hall and Provincial Information Hall in Nyeri.

Other venues are Garissa County Hall, ACK Cathedral Hall in Nakuru and Embu Municipal Hall. The commission recently acquired 15,000BVR to register 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 general election.

The training for 1,000 people, who will be posted to train the registration clerks, was still ongoing. The training for registration clerks starts on November 11 and will run for a week.

"All the (BVR) kits have arrived and the commission is in the process of inspecting, testing and distributing them to all stations across the country. Training is ongoing and registration will start once that is done," Deputy commission Secretary Wilson Shollei recently told the media during a demonstration how the kits operate.

Corporate communications manager Tabitha Mutemi yesterday reiterated that the registration exercise will start after the registration officials are adequately trained and distribution of equipment is complete. This date will be announced by the Commission soon.

The kits operate on a stand-alone mode implying that the data cannot be transmitted elsewhere by the registration clerks, stated Dismas Ong'ondi the commission's director of ICT.

"All the data is encrypted which makes it safe," Ong'ondi added. Each kit can register between 50 and 100 people per day. "We are confident we can capture the 30 million Kenyans who are eligible to take part in the exercise," he added.

The database will capture each voter's ten fingers and facial features besides the national identification details. Once a person is registered, the clerks will issue them with an acknowledgement slip to signify that one has registered. However, the slips will not be necessary for one to vote. The Election Act requires a voter to produce only an Identification card or passport only to be allowed to vote.

Once the registration is complete, IEBC will extract the data and transfer them to another automated finger identification system or the poll book which will be used to identify voters using the biometric features.

The Commission has also emphasised that the BVR system is only for registration and identification but voting will still be conducted manually.

However, there will also be paper trail for reference which will be filled at the registration centres, the ICT director explained. The exercise takes between a minute and ten to register a person.

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