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Ghana’s EC begins Limited Voter Registration 

The Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) Tuesday began the registration of new voters onto the electoral roll ahead of the December 19 District Level Elections. 

The Exercise, which is in accordance with Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution, will take place at the 268 District Offices of the Commission – a departure from the old system where limited registration exercises were done at the electoral areas.

The 21-day exercise would afford Ghanaians who have attained the voting age of 18 years since the last registration in 2020 and others who are more than 18 years but could not register during the last registration exercise, to do so.

Following the rejection of the EC’s draft Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) by Parliament in April this year, the EC said it would adopt the existing Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 91) (1) as Amended, for the upcoming registration exercise.

The draft C.I. which was disapproved by Parliament recommended a continuous voters registration exercise and sought to make the Ghana card the sole identification document to establish an applicant’s citizenship.

The adoption of C.I. 91 for the upcoming registration exercise means that eligible voters can use either the Ghana Card or the Ghana Passport to establish their identity as Ghanaians.

In the absence of the two identification documents, applicants would be required to present two people who are already registered voters to vouch for their citizenship and age.

In an interview, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, the Deputy Chair-in charge of Corporate Services at the EC, said the Commission was ready for the exercise.
The EC initially targeted 1.35 million registrants but has revised it downwards to 800,000.

The Commission said in its estimation not everyone who had turned 18 years since the last registration exercise in 2020 would actually register due to either personal reasons or non-availability.

“Nationwide, we are looking at an estimate of 1,350,000 and since voting is not compulsory in Ghana, we believe that a number of these people might have travelled, some might have moved on into other ventures even outside the country.
“So, the Commission is looking at about 800,000 registrants in 268 locations for the registration,” Dr Asare said.

Some political parties, including the National Democratic Congress, have raised red flags about the EC’s decision to hold the limited voter registration exercise at its district offices and not within electoral areas as was done in previous exercises.

The parties expressed fear that new voters in remote communities, who may not be able to access the district offices, could be disenfranchised.

Consequently, five political parties – NDC, Convention People’s Party (CPP), All People’s Congress (APC); Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG); and the Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP) – sued the EC at the Supreme Court and demanded the Court to restrain the Commission from holding the registration only at its district offices.

Meanwhile, an Application for Interlocutory Injunction to restrain the EC from proceeding with the announced limited voter registration exercise did not materialise, which means that the exercise will take off on Tuesday as announced.

GNA

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