The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to collaborate with the National Identification Authority (NIA) to harmonise a system capable of replacing the current process of compiling a new or limited voters’ register from time to time.
The system, when developed, would further help to identify current voters and register qualified individuals who turn 18 years.
That way, the process of compilation would become less time consuming and cost effective compared to how the exercise is being currently conducted.
The Senior Programmes Officer and Team Lead of Elections at CDD-Ghana, Mawusi Yaw Dumenu, who made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic however indicated that the introduction of the new system must be done based on trust.
In that regard, the EC must engage political parties and other key stakeholders including Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) every step of the way in the harmonisation process.
Mr Dumenu emphasised that the position of CDD and that of other CSOs that formed the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) had always maintained that the EC and NIA systems must be integrated.
Touching on the use of the Ghana card as the sole document for the upcoming limited voter registration exercise, Mr Dumenu stated that CDD-Ghana was not aware of any engagement between CSOs and the EC on that proposal.
“I am not particularly aware of any engagement where the EC met with CSOs to have any discussions with them about the use of the Ghana card as the sole document for the limited voter registration exercise,” he said.
Mr Dumenu explained that considering the fact that a number of people had still not yet registered nor received their Ghana cards, people were likely to be disenfranchised if the EC should conduct a voters’ registration now.
Mr Dumenu further recommended that the EC must, in the interim, fi nd creative ways of dealing with the issue to ensure that every Ghanaian of the right voting age was covered as far as the voters’ registration exercise was concerned.
The decision to use the Ghana Card as the sole document for the limited voter registration, according to the EC, was agreed on by the various political parties at an EC meeting with the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).
However, the dominant opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has raised issues with the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) stating that it has never been party to any consultation or meeting in whatever form that agreed to make the Ghana Card the sole identifi cation document for the upcoming limited voters’ registration exercise.
Aside from the NDC, a former chair of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has also argued that any attempt by the EC to use the Ghana Card as the sole document for voter registration would lead to the disenfranchisement of millions of Ghanaians for which reason the C.I should be looked at again before Parliament gave approval.
CDD-Ghana is the latest to throw its weight behind the argument made by Dr Afari-Gyan on the use of Ghana card as the sole document for the voter registration exercise.
The new C.I.
A new Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) drafted by the Electoral Commission (EC), titled: Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2021, is currently before Parliament.
A section of the C.I. seeks to make the Ghana Card the sole form of identifi cation for eligible voters who want to get onto the electoral roll.