By Mustapha Ceesay
Pa Makan Khan, Director of Communications at the Independent Electoral Commission [IEC] has discouraged Gambians from registering twice in the general voter registration.
He also enlightened that registering as a voter in two different constituencies is a crime in accordance with Section 110 (d) of the Elections Act 2009 and attracts a legal punishment.
“The IEC in the strongest of terms would discourage people from registering twice. This is what we call double registration- a person will register in constituency A and in the next minute will register in constituency B. So this is a crime under the laws under Section 110d of the Elections Act  it’s a crime and there are penalties attached to it.”
The new Communications Director whose predecessor Joseph Colley is now a commissioner and Vice Chairman of IEC stated that registering in more than one constituencies, attracts a two-year jail term and a suspension of five years for the person upon conviction.
“The penalties for double registration is, the person upon conviction would be in prison for a period of up to two years, and again the person would be barred from participating in elections for five years. So it means after conviction the person cannot register as a voter, the person has to lose his or her right to vote in any election in The Gambia for a period of five years.”
While further informing people that they must not engage in double voter registration because it is a crime under the electoral laws of the Gambia, Khan said the commission nowadays has a mechanism for detecting particulars of individuals who registered twice.
“The IEC runs a biometric voter registration platform and after the voter registration we conduct what we call matching, cross matching. This is where [details of] people will be cross matched, their details will be run in the saver, and sometimes people who registered more than once are detected. “
He finally suggested to the people to register at the centre closer to them to curtail the walking distance because the commission will try to make sure that people access electoral service as easily as possible.
This advice by Pa came after his institution [IEC] recently scheduled to conduct a general voter registration exercise from 29th May to 11th of July ahead of the presidential election in 2021.