The Electoral Commission has allayed the fears of the general public by assuring them of another chance to register to vote next year, as the current exercise is geared towards the upcoming district assembly elections.
According to the EC, it will undertake a full registration next year to ensure that all eligible voters are captured on the register for the 2024 general elections.
Speaking on Newsfile on JoyNews over the weekend, the Deputy Electoral Commissioner in Charge of Electoral Services, Dr. Serebuor Quiacoe indicated that the ongoing limited registration is to allow people who have just turned 18 years to vote in the district assembly elections.
“We are revising the register to give those who have turned 18 years old and want to take part in the district-level election the opportunity to register, so that next year we can now go out fully with the continuous voter register,” he said.
The Commission has earned negative publicity over the limited voter registration exercise currently underway at its district offices.
The NDC and some Civil Society Organisations have vehemently spoken against the decision by the Commission to undertake the exercise at its district offices.
The critics have based their arguments on proximity and the cost of transportation among others, to advocate for the decentralisation of the exercise.
They argue that some district offices of the EC across the country were at hard-to-reach locations, preventing several people from going to register.
They also argued that areas where potential voters are able to visit the district offices are congested, due to the overwhelming number of registrants.
The presidential aspirant of the NDC, John Mahama, in his interaction with the media on day four of the exercise, also cited the issue of congestion at the district offices.
He further indicated that he had received other reports of poor network performance in some areas, compelling the EC to register people offline.
“People are coming from all over to register at one point. The second thing I have noticed and the complaint is that, the network is not strong. And so, they are not able to use the instant online registration and they are capturing some data offline. The danger is that sometimes there’s a repeat of somebody’s name, not of his or hers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Serebuor Quicoe has said the Commission is concerned about the sanctity of the voter’s register, adding that the district offices are better equipped to ensure that.
He argued that people advocating for the extension of the limited voter registration from the district offices to the electoral areas are only concerned about the number of new registrants.
“For the media and the CSOs, your attention is to register them, register them, register them; that is the focus of the media and the CSOs. And probably that’s the reason why you’re quoting my Chair; at that time she was a CSO. But when you come into the kitchen, that is where you see that your responsibility changes.
“The thinking of the Commission is that it is to register people and also to protect the sanctity of the register. That is very very important, and nobody is talking about it. You’re going to compile a voter’s register that would be used to determine who leads Ghana on all fronts. What goes into the register should be something that should not bring about issues,” he said.
On September 7, 2003 five political parties namely; the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the All People’s Congress (APC), the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) filed a suit against the EC, challenging the decision to restrict the upcoming voter registration exercise to its district offices and arguing for the disenfranchisement of many eligible voters, especially those who live in remote areas.
The apex court was expected to have given a date for the application, but it has yet to do so.
The ongoing limited registration exercise, which commenced on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 is taking place in all its 268 district offices and is expected to end on Monday, October 2, 2023.