Minority raises concern over new voter register

The Minority in Parliament has raised concerns over plans by the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to discard the 2020 voter register and replace it with a new voters’ register.

According to the Minority, the EC is seeking to make the National Identity Card (Ghana Card) the only source of justification to register onto the voter Register.

“The EC through a constitutional instrument that may come before Parliament to replace the voter register of 2020 and to make the requirement for getting onto the voter register the Ghana Card as the sole reference document and justification to get onto the National Voter Register, the Minority Caucus said.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu raised the alarm when he addressed a press conference at Parliament House, in Accra, to draw attention to what he called a “matter of democratic concern” regarding the 2020 voters’ register which cost the people of Ghana about $80 million to build.

Mr Iddrisu stated also that in 2020, the EC against all sound and technical advice replaced the 2016 Biometric Voter Register without any consensus from political parties, civil society and critical election stakeholders.

He said in pursuit of that political agenda, the EC undertook a new voter registration exercise which currently puts the voter population of the country at 17,041,340 voters.

He explained that presently the National Identification Authority (NIA) has registered 16,654,000 persons, printed 16,341,000 cards, issued 13,300,000 cards against a voter register of 17 million.

“If you used that instrument of a national ID card against a voter population of 17 million then there is a critical technical departure from the requirement. We may not even have a voter register to rely on for the conduct of the 2024 Presidential and Parliamentary election because the number of Ghanaians on the voter register far exceeds the number of Ghanaians on the ID cards data and yet the national ID cards has other persons including foreigners on it,” he added.

Mr Iddrisu also said in the past since 1993 voter registration exercises that were undertaken would normally have a provision for a guarantor certifying for other persons to get onto the voter register so far as it can be established that they were Ghanaians and were of age and sound mind and to participate in Ghana’s electoral process to vote and be voted for.

He said the national ID card which was a public good was still not available to deserving Ghanaians who ought to have it, adding that there were many Ghanaians who were still struggling to have access to the national ID card legitimately.

“That public good must be made increasing available to every qualify Ghanaian,” he said.

He explained that the EC by law and duty ought to have conducted limited voter registration exercise in 2021 and 2022 but failed to undertake this national exercise and therefore eligible Ghanaians who had attained age 18 and above were denied the opportunity to get registered and to exercise the right to vote as Ghanaians.

Source: GNA

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