The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) says that at the start of the voter registration process on the 3rd of June 2024, minor glitches were reported which are mainly attributed to operator-challenges, primarily due to the fact that it is the first time the officials are operating the enhanced version of the Integrated Mobile Voter Registration System in a production mode.

“However, improvement has been observed as operators are starting to acquaint themselves with the functionality of this enhanced version as from the second day of registration,” says ECN’s chief Mr Peter Shaama.

“The Commission wishes to share ongoing information related to the Integrated Mobile Voter Registration System (IMVRS), following the commencement of the general voter registration process, and some interest shown by the public in the system.

“During 2010 – 2013, ECN migrated from the manual paper-based voter registration system to a Custom-Made digital biometrics voters registration system, referred to as Mobile Voters Register System (MVRS).

“This system was specifically designed and developed for the management of the ECN Voters Register and its ‘Architectural Application’ remains purposeful for life. It was uniquely designed for Namibia’s voter registration system in accordance with specifications set by the ECN and is not readily available on the market.”

Shaama further states that the system was introduced and rolled out in 2014 during the conduct of the General Registration of Voters (GRV) and it is still effective to date. Since its inception, the system enabled ECN to consistently produce and maintain a credible national voter’s register.

In its efforts to enhance the systems and processes, the Commission undertook a comprehensive review following the conduct of the 2019 & 2020 Presidential and National Assembly Elections as well as the Regional Council and Local Authority Elections respectively.

This review resulted in the Mobile Voter Registration System (MVRS) being enhanced and upgraded into an Integrated Mobile Voter Registration System (IMVRS) in preparation for the 2024 General Registration of Voters and the Presidential & National Assembly elections and beyond.

“The scope of this technical review fundamentally culminated in the need for the upgrade of the applications for the current MVRS to enable ECN to retain its own tailor-made system rolled out during the last GRV conducted in 2014,” Shaama points out.

This system interfaces the voters’ registration, nominations, registration of political parties, verification of voters and election results management applications. The process of enhancing and upgrading the system was done in accordance with the Public Procurement Act No.15 of 2015.

“Furthermore, this system was presented to Political Liaison Committee (PLC) members at a workshop conducted on the 19th of October 2023 at Mecure Hotel in Windhoek where they expressed satisfaction. Similarly, mock registration exercises were conducted in November 2023 and February 2024 and all our stakeholders including the media were informed accordingly.

“The purpose of this exercise was to test the real-time functionality and usability of the enhanced version of the voter registration system before actual deployment during the 2024 General Registration of Voters which has now commenced as planned.”

The enhanced version of the system leverages on mobile technology to make voter registration more responsive, efficient and marking a significant milestone in our efforts to modernize and improve our electoral processes. The enhanced system incorporates advanced security and verification measures to ensure the integrity of the voter registration process.

“The Commission hereby informs the public that these processes are entirely managed in terms of ECN Internal IT Policies and processes and do not warrant any security concerns, including hosting of data locally by ECN.

“It is also worth underscoring that the ECN has a fully-fledged IT Division entrusted with the management of its IT Systems. ECN has proper security measures in place to protect its data as it has been the case over the years.

“We look forward to the successful execution of the 4th GRV exercise culminating in the production of a credible voters’ register ahead of the 2024 Presidential and National Assembly elections.”

In the photo: LPM leader Mr Bernadus Swartbooi registering to vote in the November national elections.