By S. U. Thoronka…………………………
The Electoral Officer, National Electoral Commission (NEC), Christopher A.A Jones in a Power Point presentation described Civil Registration as the system by which a government records in a continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal manner the occurrences, and characteristics of vital events relating to its citizens, and residents as provided by, and in accordance with an established legal frame work.
During the presentation at the Conference Hall of NEC in Freetown yesterday, the audience included but not restricted to a cross-section of civil society organizations, political party representatives, pressmen and members of the public.
Mr. Jones further said, voter registration is the process of unifying the identity of potential voters in other words voters who are 18 years or will turn 18 years on the date of the election and entering their names and other substantiating information to establish a register of eligible voters.
The Electoral Officer maintained that civil and voters’ registration is jointly done by NEC and National Civil Registration Authority NCRA, whilst noting that the initial exercise would start with the registration of potential voting population and will be led by NEC.
He noted that during the exercise, NCRA will collaborate with NEC led team; NCRA would then take the lead for the subsequent civil registration process.
Mr. Jones informed that NEC and NCRA are presently engaged in series of training, targeting senior cadre staff of both institutions. He said the first set of trainings on civil and voter registration procedures were done at headquarter and districts level; while SMARTMATIC trainings have been held at national and regional level.
He assured that the next set of SMARTMATIC training is at district level scheduled for 22nd to 26th February, 2017, adding that, Voter Identification Unit (VIU) 820 Application Kits have been provided by SMARTMATIC for training operations.
Mr. Jones maintained that a single registration form would be used during both registrations. Data generated during voter registration data collection would be shared with NCRA, the dual purpose registration is consistent with the legal instruments of both institutions; mobile biometric registration VIU820 kits would be used for the civil and voter registration.
Highlighting the functions of the kit, Mr. Jones said it included a camera, fingerprint reader, computer and signature pad to ensure the integrity of both the civil and voter registration registers by upholding the principle of one person one vote
He said the civil and voter registration would be conducted at locations called Civil and Voter Registration Centres (CVRC) and that a total of 3,300 CVRCs have been created.
He maintained that these locations would be used as polling centres on polling day. Registration he said would take place daily from 7am to 5pm.