EC-SL Boss Speaks on Voter ID Cards Saga
The National Electoral Commissioner for Sierra Leone, Mohamed Kenewui Konneh has assured a pool of journalists in Freetown that the June 24th, elections would be voter fraud free.
He made this disclosure in a special press conference on Tuesday, April 11, to clear the much-talked-about securitized features of the voter ID cards. Many were critical of the texture of the current voter identity card adjudged to be a far cry from what the citizens were expecting in the form of a biometric voter identity card. Notable of the points picked for criticism is the QR code and the coat of arms which some said are mere design rather than security features. The QR for instance is said to contain the Voter Number, which is already affixed on the front of the voter card.
Konneh informed that the cards have tamper-proof hidden features so "any fraud attempt can be identified" thus making fake cards, tampered or reproduced cards to be easily detected if presented to vote. He said all fake cards will be instantly made void.
He said some of the hidden security features on the new cards were inserted in "several layers of security" and included "Invisible Ink, Securitized Hologram Foil, Microtext, and an embedded Guilloche". In addition, he said the cards have built-in lamination, the reason it does not need to be re-laminated especially as they were "temporal" cards designed for use only during the General Elections and any possible Presidential Run-Off Elections.
The national returning officer, in response to the QR code, said the feature will be used to verify Voter Numbers. “The QR Code should match the one on the database that the Polling Staff will have”, he stated, as he furthered that the micro text printing can only be identified using a special magnifier to zoom; and the Invisible Ink can only be seen with special Ultra-Violet Lamps at a special 365 frequency.
Speaking about the Hologram, he said, the foiled coat-of-arms is visible and palpable to touch and reflect, especially under normal light. Furthering that the Guilloche pattern is visible as well and is so unique that it cannot be photocopied or reprinted.
The Chief Electoral Commissioner said the security features never used before for voting in Sierra Leone are assuring of the fact that the June 24th, elections will be heavily resilient to fraudulent attempts to use fake Voter ID Cards as has been known to happen at times in the past.
Meanwhile, Konneh revealed that over a million and a half of the cards have been picked up across Sierra Leone already. He further revealed that more than 80% of the voter identity cards were black and white; 1,692 of those identity cards were without photos; 156 of the identity cards had a mismatch of names and sex identity; and 2,609 of the identity cards had misplaced location.