President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is scheduled to address Ghanaians this morning on the controversial voter registration exercise by the Electoral Commission (EC) set to commence on Tuesday, June 30.
Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, announced this in a social media post Sunday night after the President delivered his 13th national address to update the nation on the novel coronavirus situation in Ghana. No further details have been given.
The decision to register eligible Ghanaians for the compilation of a new voters’ register for the conduct of the December 7, 2020 presidential and parliamentary election has been met with opposition from some political parties and Ghanaians.
The EC has justified its decision, stating the current register is bloated and using it will taint the credibility of the December 7 elections although it used same for the 2016 elections and the recent District Level elections.
According to the EC, there is no effective means for the cleaning of the register.
Also, it said a bloated register will cost the nation a lot of money as the Commission will have to procure electoral materials for even the nonexistent voters in the register
But some critics have described the exercise as a waste of national resources because the current register has no major defect or credibility issues hence required only cleaning as was done in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.
In the view of some including the National Democratic Congress and other political parties, a limited voter registration exercise to capture those who have turned 18 years after the last registration will suffice.
Others have also questioned the timing of the exercise on the back of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus which has infected more than 17,000 people and killed over 100 of them in Ghana between March and now.
The NDC which also raised some legal issues took the EC to the Supreme Court.
They wanted the court to order the EC to accept the current voter ID card and birth certificates as proof of citizenship in the registration exercise; a relief the Supreme Court rejected in its decision on Thursday, June 25.
Per the decision, only persons with a Ghanaian passport or a Ghana Card issued by the National Identification Card can be registered to vote. Persons without any of the two documents can also get two registered voters to guarantee for them.
A new biometric system
Meanwhile, the Commission has taken a decision to acquire a new Biometric Voter Management System for the upcoming general elections. It claimed the decision was based on the advice of its IT team and external consultants.
The two, according to the EC, concluded it would be prudent to acquire a new system rather than refurbish the current system.
“It is important to note that the equipment that the entire voter management system runs on, from enrollment, duplication, adjudication to voters’ verification is obsolete and no longer supported by their Original Equipment Manufacturers,” the EC claimed earlier this year.