Editorial: EC, NIA must work together to register new voters

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has alleged that the Electoral Commission (EC) is planning to compile a fresh voters’ register for the 2024 presidential and parliamentary elections. Minority Leader and Member for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, told journalists in Parliament that the Commission wants to use the Ghana Card as the sole eligibility document for the compilation. The Tamale South lawmaker said the Ghana Card was not readily available to most Ghanaians and if the EC goes ahead with their plan, it could lead to a lot of eligible voters being disenfranchised.

The Electoral Commission has, however, disputed the allegation, saying they are not exactly compiling a new register, but rather using the 2020 register which is still credible.

The Director of Electoral Services at the Electoral Commission, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe indicated that the new registration process would rely on the Ghana Card as a base document to register new persons. He said the Constitutional Instrument (CI) is to allow Ghanaians who have become eligible to register to vote since the last registration exercise in 2020, to do so using their Ghana cards at all District offices of the EC.

The Director of Electoral Services emphasized that the new registration is only for those who have not registered and for those who have turned 18.

The National Identification Authority has made it known that the Ghana Card, as a national identification tool, will facilitate the integration of all other ID documents such as Birth Certificate, Drivers License and Passport among many others. The use of multiple personal identity cards is giving way to the adoption of a single-based national identification card, which objective is what the National Identification Authority is pursuing. The Chronicle is, therefore, happy that the EC would rely on the Ghana Card as a base document to register new and eligible voters.

However, The Chronicle will advise the EC to tread cautiously with the decision to use the Ghana Card to register eligible Ghanaians since there are many Ghanaians who are still struggling to have access to their cards. We believe the Ghana Card must be made increasingly available to every qualified Ghanaian before we would be ready to roll out the registration of new eligible voters. Currently, according to statistics available, the National Identification Authority has registered 16,654,000 persons, printed 16,341,000 number of cards and issued 13,300,000 cards. The Chronicle holds the view that since majority of citizens are yet to acquire their Ghana Cards, the exercise to be embarked upon by the EC will end up disenfranchising eligible voters.

The resolution by the EC to use the Ghana Card is a great idea, but it can disenfranchise eligible voters and that is not what the EC wants.

The Chronicle would like to draw the attention of the Electoral Commission to work hand in hand with the National Identification Authority to expedite action on the issuance of the Ghana Card to make it available for more Ghanaians to have access to their cards. The EC and NIA must work together on the use of the Ghana Card to register new voters.


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