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IEC trains officials ahead of general voter registration

Apr 29, 2011, 2:30 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) yesterday launched a five-day training session for registration officials and staff of the IEC ahead of the general voter registration, scheduled to take place from 5th May to 17th June, 2011.

The exercise, held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, followed a two-day intensive training session for senior registration officers held at the Election House.

It comes as The Gambia prepares for the forthcoming presidential, legislative and local government elections in 2011 through to 2013.

As opposed to the then manual registration of voters, which was last conducted in 2001, the IEC is taking a leap forward with the introduction of a new computerized voter registration system to meet what it calls the current realities of The Gambia’s democratization process.

Supported by CODE Inc, an international company, the digital system, according to the Commission, is in line with its drive to modernize and add value to the Gambia’s electoral process, which it said continues to grew from strength to strength.

In his opening remarks, Alhaji Mustapha Carayol, Chairman of the IEC underscored the importance of the exercise to the democratization process in The Gambia, noting that the money involved in the exercise is enormous, and thus there would be no room for complacency and negligence.

According to him, the last general registration of voters was conducted in 2001.

"However, numerous errors and omissions were encountered in both the field operations and the data capture process. Such unfortunate problems as missing names and other errors on the voter register were of serious concern to the Commission," he added.

The re-occurrence of these problems, Chairman Carayol stated, will no longer be acceptable by the Commission, thus its decision to adopt a new and more secured digital voter registration system.

He announced that the CODE officials under the tutelage of one Alex Gysel will take the participants through a comprehensive training session.