EC re-registers 42% of NHIS card holders
The Electoral Commission (EC) says as at the close of work, July 27, only 24,287 (42.78 per cent) out of the 56,772 National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards holders, whose names were deleted from the voter register, have been re-registered.
The deletion of the names was as a result of a ruling by the Supreme Court, directing the EC to delete the names of all persons who had used the NHIS card to register as voters.
However, the Court also directed the EC to give such persons the opportunity to register.
The 10-day re-registration exercise, which began simultaneously with the 2016 voter’s register exhibition exercise on July 18 at the district offices of the EC, ended on Thursday, July 28.
However, the ongoing voter’s register exhibition exercise, which is taking place in 29,000 polling stations nationwide would end on August 7.
Mr Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, the Head of Communications of the EC, said they agree that the total number ‘re-re-registered’ was low; however they were not expecting all the 56,772 deleted persons to turn up for re-registration.
“It has been four years since they registered. Chances are that a good number of them may no longer have been with us, and others may have their own reasons why they would not want to re-register,” Mr Dzakpasu said at a news conference in Accra.
The news conference was held to give an update on the re-registration exercise for the deleted NHIS card holders and the ongoing voter’s register exhibition exercise.
He said it is obvious that turn-out for the exercise could not blamed on low publicity and inadequate public education.
“As you may recall, the last limited voted registration exercise lasted for 10 days just like the re-registration exercise. At the end of the 10 days, as many as one million turned out to get registered. This means on average, 100,000 people were registered on daily. Therefore, 10-days was more than enough for only 56,772 people to get re-registered,” he said.
“This is one electoral activity that has made news and been trending in the news daily for a very long time. We began the announcements for the exercise a week ahead with the major media briefing.
“Thereafter, a lot of information was provided to the public through the 300 radio stations, the over 15 television stations, over 40 newspapers and online,” he said.
He hailed the media for being critical stakeholders in the process; stating that the message was well disseminated.
“If people actually wanted to get re-registered, they could have done so well within the 10-days. There is no evidence that when an extension of the dates is granted, the remaining people will come out to of their house or communities to get their names re-registered,” Mr Dzakpasu said.
“In the considered opinion of the Commission, the re-registration exercise could not be extended.
“Apart from the fact that the exercise was extensively publicized, the decision not to extend the exercise beyond the 10-days has been informed by a number of additional substantive reasons,” he said.
He said the EC was required by law to exhibit the provisional register of the persons re-registered, which they would have to carry out from now to the close of August 8.
On the ongoing voter’s register exhibition exercise Mr Dzakpasu said as at the close of the 12th day of the exercise, a total of 4,173,959 people out of 15 million registered voters, had gone to their polling stations to check their names and gone through the verification process.
“As you can see, the numbers are still low. It is not because of the perceived low publicity. It can only be due to voter apathy or disinterest in the process,” he stated.