Liberia: House Cites NEC Over Biometric Registration Process

NEC chair Davidetta Browne Lansanah. 

The Plenary of the Honorable House of Representatives has summoned the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Davidetta Browne Lansanah, to appear before the Plenary on Thursday, September 8, to address a Lawmaker concerns over the scheduled biometric voter registration process.

NEC recently announced the use of a biometric voter-identification system to prevent electoral fraud and chaos, which has marred previous elections.

The move comes as NEC has for years been under pressure to dash its optical manual registration (OMR) system. The OMR system, for many, does not improve the accountability and transparency of electoral processes and is usually tainted by controversy and mistrust. 

The House's Plenary made the decision to cite Lansanah on September 1 during the 7th day sitting of the special session of the 5th Session of the 54th Legislature. 

The decision was triggered by a communication from Montserrado County District #4 Representative, Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis.

Representative Dennis seeks the indulgence of her colleagues to allow the Chairperson of NEC appears before the full Plenary to explain more about the biometric registration process.

The Montserrado lawmaker said in as much as biometric registration may be a good thing, she believes that the country's electoral system is not yet prepared to absorb it. 

According to her, a biometric system has never been tested at the community level or during any of the country's recent by-elections and as such, it may not be prudent to use it to determine the outcome of the Presidential & Representative elections. She further claimed that hacking is an undying cybercrime, which means that hackers can easily manipulate stolen biometric data to create fake positives. 

The Montserrado Lawmaker averred that lack of understanding of such a system could result in denial of service to citizens from exercising their constitutional rights.

Members of House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to have the NEC

Chairperson appear before the Plenary on next Thursday.