The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensah has justified the Commission’s decision to compile a new voters register.
Addressing a forum in Accra organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Ghana, the EC Chairperson indicated that the compilation of a new voters’ register is motivated by the Commission’s desire to ensure a credible general election.
“A bloat in our register could have dire consequences for any election and as a people, we should go to an election with a mindset that it has to be credible. We should leave no room for manipulation and I believe that that is the essence of a biometric register.”
“It is our desire that we leave no room for manipulation at the polling stations because, under the current situation, any manipulation could have dire consequences for our election in the sense that it could change the outcome of an election and these are some of the reasons that informed our decision to compile a new register.”
Various civil society organisations and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have criticised the EC over the intended compilation.
The EC is however bent on carrying on with the move regardless of the agitations.
EC faces opposition
The NDC is currently challenging the EC in court on the exclusion of the old voters’ ID.
The EC presented the Public Election (Amendment) Regulation, 2020 (C.I. 126) to Parliament to amend C.I. 91 in order to change the current identification requirements.
On June 9, Parliament subsequently voted to allow the EC to use the Ghana Card and Passports as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote after relevant Constitutional Instrument had matured.
The party fears this amendment will lead to many Ghanaians being disenfranchised.
The opposition party’s case will be settled on June 23 ahead of the compilation of the register on June 30.
The EC submitted its legal justification for the amendment and described the old voter ID as “fruit from a poisoned tree” and a breach of Article 42 of the constitution, which defines who is qualified to register to vote.
The EC cited the court’s judgement in the Abu Ramadan case, where it indicated that the use of the National Health Insurance Card to register a voter is inconsistent with Article 42 of the constitution and therefore void.
In line with the judgement in the Abu Ramadan case, over 56,000 names registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards were deleted.