EAB urges overhaul of photo ID process

The Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB)  has found that the photos for identification cards in the 2011 registration process were not taken under a standardized process, resulting in presiding officers, polling agents  and elections observers experiencing grave difficulty in matching  voters with  their  national identification cards and folios.

In light of this the EAB is calling for an overhaul and standardization of the process

“Without a doubt the majority of 2011 election observers reported that they, presiding officers, and polling agents often struggled to see the resemblance between people and the photographs on their IDs and the folios,” the EAB said in its report on last year’s polls.

The report stated: “Elections officials should not have to stretch their imagination to match voters with their photo IDs. If they have to then the protections that such ID are meant to offer against fraud in the elections are not strong enough.”

Many persons upon collecting their ID cards had expressed dissatisfaction with the quality, saying they were either made to look darker, older or scary among other complaints.

There were a few cases when persons went to uplift their IDs, the photo included was of someone else and GECOM had to make necessary changes.

The EAB recommends that rectification be done to all ID cards issued so  far and that new ones are produced “under a standardized process with strict quality control guidelines.”

They further recommend that obstructions to the face, such as glasses, be removed so as not to obscure persons’ physical features when taking photos.

The EAB said: “All persons could easily be required to remove their eyeglasses for positive identification. This is the international best practice for all forms of national IDs including national ID cards, visa, and passport photo identification, and it is obviously needed if one were to identify a person with full confidence in an election.”

Properly lit photo booths with standard distance between the photographer and registrant should also be implemented and photograph standards similar to those used when applying for an international visa should be specified though the legislative process.

This current batch of identification cards is the third such type, the first being a red front and cream back card whose data was typed, hard copy inserted and signed by the holder before it was laminated.

The production of the last batch of national identification cards was done at a cost of more than $250 million.

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