Elections 2020: EC can use old voters’ register – CODEO

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Given the uncertainties surrounding the compilation of a new voters’ register and the possible postponement of the December general elections, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has proffered an alternative to the Electoral Commission if the Coronavirus pandemic persists.

According to CODEO, the option of using the old voters’ register to conduct the December polls still remains unexplored by the EC and its stakeholders.

Speaking in an interview on Eyewitness News, the National Coordinator of CODEO Albert Arhin, insisted that although the words used by the Electoral Commission to describe the existing voters’ register some months ago, were unsavoury the idea of going back to it remains the most viable option now.

“…Even if this thing subsides and there is not ample evidence to show clearly that it is gone, then definitely there is going to be some opposition facing the EC. So, it is not going to be easy at all. If we are not able to do the election, there might be a constitutional crisis. But I think by now, constitutional experts are thinking of a way out. The other option is that, if the compilation is not able to take place then maybe, they could use the old register. But even there, how do you conduct the election if the pandemic hasn’t abated maybe by September or thereabout. It is readily even dicey because the owners of the register don’t want to use it so maybe a way has to be found to do the new register.”

While citing the conduct of some Ghanaians as some hot meals were being distributed, he said organizing a registration exercise would invariably mean hastening the spread of the coronavirus to more people in the process.

“…The problem I envisage is the way the Ghanaian is going to conduct himself or herself. Look at the food that we are distributing, the queues, pandemonium, panic, and the rush, so if it is going to be done areas that have not been affected, my problem is how the Ghanaian is going to behave in the rush to get registered. That is the fear that I have. If in those areas they are going to adhere by keeping the distances, then probably they can go ahead and do it. But where is the guarantee that there is not going to be a stampede? It’s really a dicey issue.”

The Electoral Commission headed by Jean Mensa over the past months justified the need for a new voters’ register in the face of several backlashes and intense revolt led by the opposition National Democratic Congress.

But the EC in its several points indicated that the existing register is not as credible as it should be because it has been over-stretched.

Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Dr Bossman Asare at a press briefing in December 2019 described existing voters’ register as; “credible but it has been stretched to a point where you don’t want to take that same risk. We want to have something that is more credible. If you remember, during the exhibition some of you heard that some people were not captured because of the equipment we are using.

“This equipment we started using it in 2012…this is the only commission mandated by law to ensure that we run a very credible election, it is our job to make sure that going into a very major and partisan election you have what it takes.”

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