When will IEC conduct voter registrations exercise?

Feb 12, 2021, 9:46 AM

The country is preparing towards the much anticipated 2021 presidential election on December 4th. However, the question that many Gambians are asking is: when shall the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) conduct nationwide voter registration exercise after it postponed the first scheduled date for the registration which would have started on 14 January 2021?

Last month, the IEC issued a press release indicating that the reason for the postponement of the voter registration was due to logistical challenges being experienced due to “procurement of materials and equipment needed for the successful conduct of the vote registration.”

However, what they failed to indicate in their said press release is the new date for the voter registration exercise. It’s crystally clear that for the much anticipated 2021 presidential election to be successfully held on 4 December there should be a massive voter registration with a view to enabling eligible Gambians the right to acquire voters’ cards and peacefully exercise their franchise.

In fact, the IEC is also planning to change the system of voting from marble system of voting to paper balloting. If that is anything to go by, and taking into account that it would be the first time in the history of the country that Gambians would be voting through paper balloting, then massive sensitization and education is needed to enable Gambians familiarise themselves with this system of voting, taking into account the level of illiteracy in the country.

Apparently, the ballot paper system too has its own pros and cons. Given the fact that the illiteracy level in The Gambia is high, then the question is how would some eligible voters recognise and tick the photo or party symbol of the candidate of their choice among others printed on a single sheet of paper, particularly in a case when they are not educated?

Another issue is, where would the ballot papers be printed and who would be in charge of their custody to the trust and satisfaction of all political parties and stakeholders in the country? Is there any guarantee that there would be no counterfeit? Given the fact that it’s almost 10 months before Gambians go to the polls to elect a president and still now there’s no voter registration. That looks almost impossible to use the paper balloting in the 2021 presidential election.

On the other hand, the iconic glass marbles have since become a curiosity for the rest of the world. The  system proved to work well for Gambia as it is almost impossible to cheat in the elections taking into account that votes are counted on the spot after the closure of polls.

IEC therefore needs to act fast!

Read Other Articles In Editorial
On road accidents!
Mar 23, 2021, 11:19 AM

It is a fact that road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among children and young adults aged 5-29 years. And it is a growing problem in many developing and even developed countries.

Alarm as covid-19 set to almost double acute hunger by end of 2020
May 22, 2020, 11:52 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic will see more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of the year, according to new figures from the World Food Programme (WFP).

Good Morning Mr. President: New airport levy, transport fares
Jan 30, 2023, 12:36 PM

Mr President, it has come to our knowledge that the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA) plans to increase passenger Service Charge (PSC), Security Charges and introduce a Passenger Safety Levy effective May 1, 2023.

Mr. President: On change of power, ‘Tobaski’ rams & oil spill
Jun 6, 2022, 10:49 AM

Mr. President, during the recently concluded AU Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, African Presidents discussed unconstitutional change of power and how to eliminate terrorism especially in West Africa where the jihadists have extended their strength.