EC Postpones New Register Date

Jean Mensa – EC Chairperson

The Electoral Commission (EC) is working out the possibility of new dates for the compilation of a new voters’ register.

The commission met political parties yesterday at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) setting to discuss current happenings, including the intended voters’ register compilation for the December general election.

The coronavirus pandemic and its impact on electoral activities was reportedly discussed to the fullest.

Later, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, Director of Electoral Services, said later that the commission is in collaboration with the health authorities to determine when the voters’ register could be compiled if the scheduled date is overtaken by the COVID-19 events.

The compilation of a new voter register for the 2020 elections was scheduled to begin on April 18, but the COVID-19 pandemic is making it impossible for its commencement.

“We have made it very clear that the current biometric system is not good enough for future activities. We are having a lot of challenges with it. In addition to that, a lot of people have found it difficult to have their fingerprints picked up by the machine so we intend to introduce the facial recognition (option) in addition so that if your fingerprint fails, your image will be used for verification,” the EC official said.

Main Invitation

Fifteen political parties were invited by the EC to attend IPAC meeting on the compilation of a new electoral register.

The meeting, involved the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People’s Party (CPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and Ghana Union Movement (GUM).

The rest were the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE), United Front Party (UFP), Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), National Democratic Party (NDP), All People’s Congress (APC), United Progressive Party (UPP) and Power United Party (PUP).

In an earlier correspondence to the parties, the EC indicated that there would be two separate IPAC meetings, with the political parties divided into two groups.

The letter signed by the Deputy Chairman in charge of Corporate Affairs, Dr. Eric Bossman Asare, said the first group meeting, which comprised NPP, NDC, CPP, PPP, PNC, LPG, GCPP and GUM, would be held in the morning at 10:00 am.

The Group B category comprising EGLE, UFP, GFP, NDP, APC, UPP and PUP will have their turn in the afternoon at 2:00 pm.

It added that each of the political parties was expected to present one person for the meeting, explaining that the decision had come about due to the directive of the President for any social gathering not to exceed 25 people.

The legislative process towards a fresh voters’ register commenced on Monday, March 17, 2020 as the EC asked Parliament to amend the relevant Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 91 to reflect the changes in the proof of citizenship.  

The first stage of the process was surmounted when the election management body asked Parliament to amend the germane C.I. to enable the national identification card and passport to be used as the only evidence of identification for a person who applies for registration as a voter.

The Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, laid the document before the House on behalf of the EC, thus triggering the next stage of the legislative process. 

By Ernest Kofi Adu