Liberia: NEC Launches Biometric Voter's Feasibility Studies

The National Elections Commission (NEC) with support from the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) and the Economic Community of West African States technical support has officially launched the biometric voter's registration feasibility studies in Liberia.

The comprehensive feasibility study of the introduction of new technology, such as Biometric voter registration when successful achieved in rolling it out will be used in the 2023 general and presidential election. This is expected to strongly consider the efficiency, cost-benefit, and sustainability of the technology.

According to the NEC, the Biometric voter registration uses unique physical features of an individual most commonly fingerprint for voter registration and possibly also authentication.

A voter card contains this information and is validated at the polling place on Election Day.

The National Elections Commission said the introduction of BVR globally has had some advantages, among them the possibility of enhancing voter confidence and increasing the integrity, accuracy and transparency of the electoral process.

NEC Chairperson Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah told reporters at the institution's headquarters in Sinkor that the commission is partnering with UNDP and ECOWAS to carry out the feasibility studies of voters' biometric registration.

"Following this launch, we are hoping that the potential adoption of the biometric voter's registration in Liberia can bring greater efficiency in data capture and analysis, and increasing security, improving the conduct of future elections," Madam Brown-Lansanah said.

Madam Brown-Lansanah told reporters that NEC along with UNDP and ECOWAS technical support is undertaking a comprehensive feasibility study for a potential introduction of new technology-the biometric voter's registration in election management in Liberia.

She indicated that in the interest of transparency and national ownership, the team will meet with a broad spectrum of politicians here in Liberia for their inputs in this exercise.

According to her, the feasibility studies will do a comprehensive analysis of the potential of the introduction of new technologies such as biometric voters' registration in the electoral process ahead of the 2023 elections and beyond.

Ms. Brown-Lansanah added that the studies will strongly consider the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of various technologies and advise the NEC appropriately.

According to her, given the experience gained from the cleaning of the voters roll, the studies will increase public confidence in the voters roll with the use of the new process.

"These types of solutions are becoming more popular globally, but each nation has its own strength and limitations when it comes to conducting technological solutions, and these need to be considered more consciously" the NEC boss continued.

She said Liberia's position is by no means unique, noting that there is a need to carefully assess how to adapt any new technology before making any kind of commitment.

"This feasibility study we are launching today will assess Liberia's ability to initially adapt new technologies," she said."

She went on saying, "As we look forward to 2023, this is just one way in which the NEC can continue to improve its performance to benefit every voters."

She said they hope that the potential adoption of BVR in Liberia can bring about greater efficiency in data capture and analysis, and increased security, improving the conduct of future elections.

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