Nigeria: Does Writing Your Contact Details Behind Your New Voter's ID Render It Invalid?

CLAIM: Viral social media messages claim writing one's name and phone number behind the new Voter's ID card before lamination invalidates the card.

VERDICT: According to Dr Bossman Asare, deputy chairperson of the Electoral Commission, writing one's telephone number behind the voters' ID card does not render it invalid. It is, however, not "okay" to do so as it is not stated in the guideline and laws for registration.

FULL TEXT According to messages circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, writing one's contact details behind the new voter's ID card before lamination renders it invalid. This, according to the messages, is because "any alteration other than the standards of EC, renders the Card invalid".

The message reads:

According to EC, your card becomes invalid if you write your name or number at the back. Any alteration other than the standards of EC, renders the Card invalid. EC would have provided that information if that would help to solve any lapses. This message is a calculated attempt by some individuals to disemphrachise some people. Writing your number at the back of your card also means you're giving out your details to criminals. BE WARE"

This follows a message also circulated primarily on WhatsApp, which claimed directives are being given to individuals who have not yet registered to ensure that they request for their slip and write their telephone numbers at the back before proceeding to the lamination stage. According to the piece of information, by doing this, the cardholder will be able to retrieve the card should it get lost. The message reads,

Dubawa Ghana Dubawa Ghana ELECTIONSDoes writing your contact details behind your new voter's ID render it invalid?by Roselena AhiableJuly 8, 2020 Credit: The Independent Ghana 3 mins read Viral social media messages claim writing one's name and phone number behind the new Voter's ID card before lamination invalidates the card.

According to Dr Bossman Asare, deputy chairperson of the Electoral Commission, writing one's telephone number behind the voters' ID card does not render it invalid. It is, however, not "okay" to do so as it is not stated in the guideline and laws for registration.

Full Text According to messages circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, writing one's contact details behind the new voter's ID card before lamination renders it invalid. This, according to the messages, is because "any alteration other than the standards of EC, renders the Card invalid".

The message reads:

"According to EC, your card becomes invalid if you write your name or number at the back. Any alteration other than the standards of EC, renders the Card invalid. EC would have provided that information if that would help to solve any lapses. This message is a calculated attempt by some individuals to disemphrachise some people. Writing your number at the back of your card also means you're giving out your details to criminals. BE WARE"

This follows a message also circulated primarily on WhatsApp, which claimed directives are being given to individuals who have not yet registered to ensure that they request for their slip and write their telephone numbers at the back before proceeding to the lamination stage. According to the piece of information, by doing this, the cardholder will be able to retrieve the card should it get lost. The message reads,

"Notice!! Notice!! Notice!! Have you registered already? If you have, then, unfortunately, you've missed out. If you haven't, then, take advantage of this. At the final stage of the registration, just before your card is laminated for you, please, *POLITELY* request for the slip and write behind it your *Telephone Numbers*. The *numbers* should be yours, spouse, child or any other number you trust to be active before it is laminated. This will help you to retrieve it back if you happen to lose your card in future. Most often, when you go to the bank or other institutions that require our IDs, you will find found cards displayed. If these cards have telephone numbers of the owners behind them, the owners would have been called to go pick them up.

Verification Electoral Commission's standards for the voter's ID card makes no mention of the need to append one's contact number behind the card so that it can be found and returned to the cardholder if lost.

Does writing your name invalidate your card?

According to a deputy chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Dr Bossman Asare, writing one's telephone number behind the voter's ID card does not render it invalid, even though "the commission hasn't said that people should write their names or numbers on the back of their cards."

Dr Asare also confirmed that "one can vote without the card as long as the name is in the register."

What should you do if you lose your card?

On page 12 of the Laws of Registration under Article 42 chapter 7 of the 1992 constitution and in the frequently asked questions section of the E.C website, it is clearly stated that should a holder of the voter's ID card lose his or her card, the person, within 7 days of realizing this should,

"report the loss in person to the district officer of the Commission or to a police officer in charge of the nearest police station who will report the loss to the district officer of the Commission within 7 days of the receipt of the report".

Conclusion

Your voter's ID card does not become invalid once you write your contact details behind it. However, It is not advised to write your contact number on the back of your voter's identification card. In the event of the card getting lost, the cardholder is to follow the stated procedure to retrieve the card. It is important to note that the individual will still be allowed to vote with or without the card, once his or her name is in the voter's register.

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