IEC advised to consider substituting voter card with ID card

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By Oumie Mendy

The Election Watch Committee (EWC) has recommended for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to replace the voter card with the National Identity card. This, the group added, will help the electoral body to improve on its electoral process.

The EWC, who were sharing their 2020-2022 election observation report, also made recommendations to various election stakeholders on a series of issues aimed at making The Gambia’s electoral process more peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible to boost citizens’ confidence in the electoral system.

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Yankuba Manjang, the EWC representative said the electoral law states that IEC should register anyone who provides relevant documents required by law such as attestation, birth certificate, National Identity Card or Passport to be issued with a voter card.

“Unlike, the ID cards or Passport, background checks are not usually required to determine whether one gets his/her attestation through due process or not. So, this is a big concern because it is easier to get an alkalo’s attestation and no one goes around to confirm if you are actually a Gambian or not,” he added.

He said the EWC is of the opinion that politicians could also influence the acquisition of the attestation to suit their interests, thereby giving non-Gambians the right to vote in elections.

“In order to get away from this, we can advance and make our ID cards a requirement for voting by adding the polling station details on it. And anyone that turns 18 years would be urged to register for an ID card and be eligible to vote. That will help those who turn 18 years after general voter registration and have to wait for another five years to be able to register,” he said.

Meanwhile, the report also recommended that the IEC should work in collaboration with CSOs, the Inter-Party Committee (IPC) and lawmakers to review the Elections Act to address the widespread use of the attestation by citizens, allow officials on duty to vote by issuing them with duty certificate while on duties during elections. The report also recommended that the IEC Work in collaboration with IPC, lawmakers and CSOs to institute legislation and an independent oversight agency to regulate campaign financing.