CORRECTION: Voter registration points not linked: Engelbrecht

19 Jan 2014 18:00pm
ATTENTION - CORRECTION: Story changes day of interview with Engelbrecht from Wednesday to Thursday

WINDHOEK, 19 JAN (NAMPA) - Non-governmental organisation (NGO) Citizens for an Accountable and Transparent Society (CATS) says the fact that voter registration points are not linked could lead to people obtaining several voter’s cards.
The general registration of voters commenced on Wednesday and will end on 02 March 2014.
Speaking to Nampa on Thursday, CATS trustee Carola Engelbrecht said the computers at the various voter registration points are not linked, meaning what happens at one registration point does not reflect on the computers at other registration points around the country.
There are 3 852 voter registration points across the country.
Engelbrecht said she fears that if the voter registration points are not linked, people who want to abuse the system can register at various registration points and get a different voter’s card every time.
“In the end the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) will scrutinise their records and people with more than one voter's card will be eliminated, but the cards will not be removed from that person and the person will still remain with more than one voter's card,” she said.
She added that people who have more than one voter's card will be able to go to different polling stations with their cards and use it to vote.
“If their name is not on the voter's list the law allows the election official to fill in a form which says this person is not on the voter's registration list, but they have a voter's card. So essentially, this person can vote with more than one voter's card,” she said.
Engelbrecht wanted to know why more effort was not made to ensure that problems such as these are sorted out before the registration process began.
“Costs are always being cited. They want to use N.dollars 700 million for a new parliamentary building, we are wasting money left, right and centre, but when it comes to the integrity of our elections, we allegedly have no money,” she said.
Approached for comment, ECN Director of Operations Theo Mujoro confirmed that the system is not linked, but said when records from the registration points are consolidated, such people will be identified.
He added that monitoring of the registrations will be done on a weekly basis.
“Some people do not register more than once with criminal intentions. You find that some people for example will look at their voter’s cards and say they are not satisfied with the photo on the card,” he said, adding that such people might then go to another registration point to get a card with a better photo.
“The moment we consolidate, we will simply delete the latest card and keep the first registered card,” he said.
Mujoro added that the names of voters who go to vote with more than one card will not appear on the voter's register list, nor on the system.
“But if they bring the correct card, it will work. Usually we tell people to surrender their other cards because those cards are just useless,” he said.