By Joseph Titus Yekeryan
Some residents of Bong County have hailed the ongoing biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise as stress-free and smooth.
This is the first time that Liberia has deployed a biometric-based voter registration system.
Stakeholders including the African Youth Peer Review Committee (AYPRC) lobbied the regulator to introduce the system to help prevent any form of manipulation of results.
The exercise had earlier started in six of Liberia’s 15 counties before being extended to the remaining nine counties.
According to our correspondent, the National Elections Commission (NEC) workers have ensured distinction in the process, thus making it easy for them and also registrants.
It took Peterson Paye less than 15 minutes to get his voter identification card on Tuesday at the Kollie-ta- Wolai Public School in Gbarnga.
At first, he had thought that the process would have been so tough since it has to do with the collection of fingerprints.
“No stress at all, the process is ongoing and very smooth I must admit.”
“I am really surprised that I just came and did not stay long. I thought when you go to the table to do your process it will take you long. But to be frank, the NEC [National Elections Commission] staff know their job and they are very fast in doing it.”
Peterson will be a first-time voter in the October elections. He reached the age of 18 in 2020 but said he never wanted to participate in the senatorial elections because he had no choice in the race.
After getting his card, he immediately became a campaigner for voter registration, encouraging his peers not to stay away.
“I am calling on all my friends to come and register, I want to join the person because the future of this country depends on us the youths.”
“Those working for the NEC are prepared; they know their job so there is no need to keep waiting,” he said.
However, it’s not only Peterson that is happy with the smooth BVR process.
Mary Wolo lives with a disability. She has not allowed that to shy her away from participating in the BVR.
According to her, NEC staff are even giving priority to pregnant women, old folks, and persons living with disabilities.
“The moment I went there, they (NEC Staff) asked me to leave the line and go straight to the table to do my registration,” she said.
“I registered [at] the center that is at the Dolokellen Gboveh High School in Gbarnga. They treated me fairly and I am happy [about] that.”
“Right now, I don’t know who I will vote for but it is good that I already have my card with me,” she concluded.
At the Kollie-ta- wolai center, three different lines are being formed. One for eligible voters who have already done their data entry, and the other two for the rest of the people who never did personal data entries.
Upper Bong NEC Magistrate Daniel Newland has told journalists that his team has so far been on top of its game. He said there has not been any major complaint from his assignment areas.
“Well, we can clearly say that the process has been going on very smoothly and there has not been any complaint from all of our centers in upper Bong County,” he said.
“Even though this is the first time for us to go [through] a BVR process, however, I can say that we have so far been at our best because the very things we taught our workers, they are implementing everything.”