IEC says no to voter registration extension

Jul 12, 2021, 12:57 PM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The director of Communications and Trainings of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Pa Khan, says it is highly likely that the IEC will not extend the national voter registration, adding "I'd say a big no, there is no likelihood of extension."

The top IEC official made the comments via a telephone conversation with West Africa Democracy Radio on Sunday, as The Gambia wraps up the national exercise.

A section of Gambians are calling for an extension to the voter registration, claiming the process was disrupted for technical and other issues at some points.

But further buttressing on why he thinks the exercise may not be extended, Mr. Khan said, "because if we observe the figures from the first week when we reached over 191,000 and over the weeks this figure dropped to over 36,000.

"So it means that most people have already been registered. So in light of this, I'd say there will be no need to extend voter registration.

"And again to add on to that is that, we even went round on Saturday, and the turnout was very low in most of the centers, this of course means that most Gambians have already been registered.

"In most places we visited Saturday, only a handful of people turned out to register," he said.

The national voter registration which started on 29 June, 2021, showed a downward spiral in the turn out according to the IEC's weekly reports.

Week 1 showed the highest number of people being registered, 191,509.

The figures dwindled down from second week onwards and the trend continued until week four when only 163,628 were registered.

As of week four of the national voter registration, a total of 720,394 Gambians were registered.

The report also showed more women 411,319 registered than men 309,075 with a gap of over 100,000.

The IEC hopes to meet the targeted 1 million Gambian voters registered and this will be verified as soon as the final report week five of the voter registration is revealed.

Overall the IEC has been applauded for showing professionalism and transparency since the registration began over a month ago.

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