Fingerprints, residency to be verified before new ID cards are produced – GECOM clarifies
The Guyana Elections Commission (GEOCM) is preparing to wrap up an ongoing registration exercise on May 29, 2022, but has cautioned that the production and distribution of Identification (ID) cards will not be done immediately after as there is a required tiered verification process to be conducted.
In a statement released on Thursday, GECOM took the opportunity to provide clarity on the need for new registrants to fill out registration forms, sign those forms and verify their residency before there is any production and distribution of National Identification cards.
“There are a variety of Statutory Forms that must be filled when applying for any of the various registration transactions, as a matter of commission policy,” the statement noted.
To this end, GECOM said applicants for registration are not permitted to fill any of the forms but it is rather a task to be completed by trained staffers.
“GECOM recognizes that individual persons have their respective signatures which they have been using customarily. Accordingly, there is no prescribed signature requirement which must be met by applicants for registration, save and except for placing their signature in the space provided for this purpose,” the statement added.
Residency verification is a statutory component process that must be completed relative to the processing of an application for registration. In this regard, the commission said it decided as a matter of policy that registration staff must visit the residential address provided by an applicant no sooner than 48 hours after the application was made.
The justification for this is to discourage persons applying for registration from using addresses where they do not reside. Further, GECOM said this measure is pivotal to the correct placement of eligible persons in any List of Electors to ensure that they are correctly listed to vote at polling stations for the catchment area that is pertinent to their residential addresses.
National Identification cards are produced and issued to persons whose applications for registration are successful. In this regard, it must be noted that GECOM is responsible to ensure that no person is listed more than once in the National Register of Registrants (NRR).
Accordingly, the commission conducts due diligence checks for registrations by cross-matching the fingerprints of all applicants for registration against those of the registrants who are listed in the NRR.
“It follows that fingerprints taken from applicants for registration during any given registration exercise can be dispatched for cross-matching only after the close of the exercise.”
Fingerprint cross-matching is currently outsourced to an overseas contractor.
It is only after the applicants for registration have been cleared as new applicants for registration, through this methodology, that they are committed to the NRR and ID cards would be produced.
“It is not unusual for this to take place until about two months after the closure of the particular registration exercise,” GECOM added.