EC appeals to qualified voters to register in their numbers

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Mrs Jean Mensa, Chairperson, Electoral Commission, has appealed to the public especially, the political parties to direct their energies towards making the voters’ registration exercise a success.

“I urge to move forward with the Commission to implementing the ruling of the Supreme Court decision. Participate actively, monitor the system and draw the attention of the Commission to any anomaly,” she said.

Mrs Mensa said the registration exercise, which would start tomorrow Tuesday, June 30 and end on August 6, was a critical process in Ghana’s election cycle and that it was the bedrock on which credible elections would rest as well as the foundation upon which the sovereign right of Ghanaians to choose their national leaders hinged.

“Therefore, in carrying out the registration exercise, we, as a Commission, are mindful of the significance of the task we are undertaking, “ she said.

Mrs Mensa stated that the Commission’s rationale for the compilation of a new register was not to disenfranchise any eligible voter but was to ensure that all citizens who qualified were afforded the opportunity to register and cast their votes.

She said the Commission was of the view that only eligible citizens should be given the right to determine who governed and led “our dear country.”

Mrs Mensa said Constitutional Instrumental 126 specified that the documents that each citizen of Ghana was required to present in order to be eligible to register as a voter a valid passport or a National Identification Card issued by the National Identification Authority.

The legislation, she said, further specified that in the event that a citizen of Ghana did not have either of the above documents, he or she must present two guarantors, who must themselves have been registered under the current registration process, to vouch for, or guarantee the identity of the said person, as a citizen of Ghana.

“We wish to acknowledge those concerns. We understand that it may seem like a burden, having to find two registered persons to vouch for ones identity as a Ghanaian. And yet, this seems to us to be the lesser of two evils. Although it may take a little bit more of your time and that of your guarantors, it will ensure that only persons who are Ghanaians, and of the age of 18 years and above, are listed on our Voters’ Register.

“This system has been with us since the beginning of our democracy, as the framers of the law anticipated situations in which Ghanaian citizens might for legitimate and unavoidable reasons, be unable to produce documents to prove their citizenship”.

According to he, in 2014, nine hundred and twenty-eight thousand, five hundred and forty (928, 540) persons were registered as voters of which about 82 per cent of registering voters used guarantors.

In 2016, she said one million, forty-six thousand, and sixty-seven (1,460,067) persons were registered as voters. Of this number, 92.5 per cent used guarantors.

Mrs Mensa said in 2019, one million, two hundred and eleven thousand, three hundred and ninety-five (1,211,395) persons were registered and 95.2 per cent used guarantors.

Touching on anti-COVID-19 measures, the EC Chairperson said the Commission, working with the National COVID19 team, had taken adequate steps Including setting up registration centres in open spaces, wearing of nose mass, checking of temperature, mandatory washing of hands before joining the queue, and observance of physical distance of at least one meter in queues at the centres.

She said others were; cleaning fingerprint scans prior to the capturing of fingerprints of applicants, using alcohol wipes and mandatory sanitizing of hands when leaving the centres.

Mrs Mensa said the Ghana Health Service had released 7000 Health assistants to each of the Registration Centres to ensure strict adherence to the safety protocols outlined by the Commission.

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