The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament Tuesday said the Electoral Commission (EC) has informed the House of its intention to reduce the number of registration centres for the new voters’ identification card.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, told a press conference after officials of the EC had met with the Special Budget Committee of Parliament that; “They intend to phase out the registration exercise in some 6,300 registration centres out of the 33,000 centres across the country.”
The meeting, re-scheduled several times, was for the EC to brief the House on its preparations towards the 2020 general election.
Mr Iddrisu said the reduction in the number of centres was worrying as that would disenfranchise a number of Ghanaians.
“The numbers they are giving today contradicts what has been gazetted,” he said.
He said the EC Chairperson told the Special Budget Committee that the Commission did not intend to use data of the National Identification Authority (NIA) but will use the cards only for purposes of identity.
He noted that it was necessary for the EC and National Identification Authority to work to ensure that data collected for the registration exercise were synchronized.
“I do not see any cooperation and collaboration even though that has been made an essential primary reference document. Her assurance is that they will accept it only for the purpose of identity that you’re a Ghanaian. Not a use of the data already processed and stored?” he asked.
Mr Iddrisu reiterated the NDC’s opposition to the EC’s decision to compile a new voters’ register as it sees no legal and technical justification for it for the general election.
However, Dr Bossman Asare, the Deputy Chairman of Corporate Services of the EC, in a reaction, told a press conference at the Parliament House that all the existing registration centres would be used for the voter registration exercise.
He said there were 33,367 registration centres, and all those would be used, adding that the exercise would be done in phases, at the end of which every registration centre would be captured.
“So when we begin and we are not yet at your place, just wait for us, the Commission will get there and you’ll be registered,” Dr Bossman said, adding there would be a mop up to capture those who could not register.
Dr Asare stated categorically: “We’re not reducing the existing registration centres.”
He said there were about 42,000 registration officials working for the EC and it was procuring enough personal protective equipment for the exercise.
On the use of the Ghana Card for the registration, Dr Bossman said: “The NIA Card is only a form of identification that one is a Ghanaian, and two people who are already registered as voters can guarantee for the one without the Ghana Card.”
He said EC had written to political parties to inform them that the impending voter registration exercise would begin on June 30, 2020.
According to a letter signed by Dr Asare, the registration would be held at all registration centres and district offices of the Electoral Commission throughout the country.
The EC has asked Parliament to approve GH¢444,846,663 for the compilation of a new voters’ register.
In its budget, the EC also allocated GH¢287,842,511 for the conduct of the elections.