EC says national IDs not important in 2021 polls

The Chairperson Electoral Commission, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, Tuesday addressed the press on the progress of the ongoing general update of the National Voters Register.

The Symposium tackled strengthening the electoral process scheduled for 4th and 5th December 2019 and other electoral activities under the road-map for 2020-2021 elections.

He said the voter verification exercise is ongoing with a few challenges.

It involves corrections relating to photo mismatches, gender and names that don’t correlate with what appears on the register.

“We expect cooperation from all Ugandans so that this exercise goes on smoothly,” Byabakama told press in Kampala.

He said this exercise targets those who have not yet registered and those that want to change voting location.

He said all voters must get their details updated in the National Voters Register as a guarantee that they participate in the 2021 general elections.

Byabakama explained that owning a National Identity Card, without records on the voter’s register, is insufficient.

He says the Electoral Commission is currently conducting a General Update of the National Voters’ Register, to enable potential voters to confirm their intention to participate in the elections, and where they intend to vote from.

The General Update exercise which started on Thursday, November 21, will continue until Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

According to Byabakama, politicians encouraging their supporters to pick national IDs is meaningless since they will be rejected at polling stations if the holders’ names don’t appear on the register.

Byabakama said EC is in talks with National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) to issue cards closer to the people at the parish level.

Meanwhile, Uganda Law Society has vowed to drag the Electoral Commission to court should the electoral body refuse to extend the deadline of the voters’ register verification exercise.

There are fears amongst the population that millions will miss out on the voting during the 2021 polls.

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