FORMER Vice-President Dr Guy Scott says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should withdraw the biometric verification, arguing that it is an ill-advised innovation.
In a statement to News Diggers, Tuesday, Dr Scott said using a system that had not been tried and tested on a massive scale was risky.
“Using a system that has not been tried and tested on such a massive scale is hugely risky. Voters must have confidence in the voting system. Introducing a new system at the last minute does nothing to build confidence, it creates mistrust and suspicion. This has been fuelled by the lack of clarity on what happens if the system proves unreliable. What if card-carrying voters are turned away, or if the system is faulty or just too slow? ECZ should withdraw this ill-advised innovation. Less than two weeks before elections, an ECZ memo revealed that biometric verification was to be used in all constituencies of the 10 provincial centres,” Dr Scott said.
He explained that if the proposed system would take three minutes for one person to be verified, others would not be able to vote.
“At the same time, the ECZ plans to train 949 ushers to operate the biometric identification technology also became public. Let’s look at Lusaka. There are 928,130 registered voters, and 408 ushers identified for training. That means that each usher may have to process up to 2,274 voters on polling day. The figures are about the same nationally around 2 million voters and 1,000 ushers, making about 2,000 voters per usher. We all experienced the system used for voter registration, which took three or four minutes per person. If the proposed system ends up taking three minutes for each person to be verified, that means that each usher would process around 240 people during the course of the polling day which would lead to unrest as people would be unable to cast their votes,” explained Dr Scott.