EC registering minors – A/R NDC

The opposition National Democratic Congress in the Ashanti Region has accused the Electoral Commission of registering minors.

A statement signed by Kwame Zu, Regional Secretary, on Thursday, 6 August 2020, alleged: “The concurrent ongoing NIA mop-up registration exercise and the EC’s registration exercise in the Ashanti Region has become a conduit through which the Electoral Commission is registering minors”.

“The NIA is currently registering minors who are below 18 years as 18-year-olds with the primary motive of making them eligible to register as voters in the upcoming 7th December 2020 general elections”, the statement further alleged, adding: “This practice is unlawful and must be stopped immediately”.

“We caution parents and guardians to ensure that their children are not allowed to be exploited for partisan political gains that may adversely affect them in the future.

“We also call on all our Party Agents and the general public to be vigilant and challenge any minor that would avail him or herself to be used by desperate politicians for this disturbing electoral fraud.

“We thank the Ghanaian people for their vigilance so far”, the party said.

Meanwhile, the EC has said the just-ended voter registration exercise is the best-ever Ghana has had in her history.

“Let me say that this registration exercise has been the best so far in terms of the conduct of our officials”, Acting Public Affairs Director of the election management body, Mrs Sylvia Annor, told Benjamin Akakpo on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast show on Thursday, 6 August 2020.

“Generally speaking, it’s been very successful”, she reiterated, adding: “Come to think of the fact that we’re not in normal times, we were able to put in measures to make sure that Ghanaians are safe and thankfully, it’s been very very successful”.

In her view, the process has been so successful to the extent that almost all the registration centres have been idle in the last few days as the mass registration exercise comes to an end today.

She said although the EC projected registering 15 million eligible voters, “thankfully, we’ve even gone pass our projection”.

“Right now, we’ve gone pass 16 million but these are provisional figures. We have a situation where we’ve realised that some people have done multiple registration, so, there’s the need to expunge those names from the register”, she noted.

In a related development, the election management body said it is “giving another opportunity to those who, in one way or the other” could not avail themselves of the process to register during the nationwide exercise, to do so this weekend in a mop-up exercise on Saturday and Sunday, 8 and 9 August 2020 at its district offices across the country.

Also, the Commission has inaugurated a voter registration adjudication committee to help expunge the names of multiple registrants from the voter register.

The 16-member multi-stakeholder committee, which was inaugurated by the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, in Accra Wednesday, 5 August 2020, will be required to manually determine the eligibility of persons who have been flagged for multiple registration through the de-duplication process to be on the voter roll.

Chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Operations, Mr Samuel Tettey, the committee has six other officials of the EC; five representatives of political parties and four civil society organisations (CSOs) as its members.

Political parties with representation on the committee are the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG).

Among the CSOs on the committee are the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA); Abantu for Development and Penplusbyte.

The law

The committee was constituted in compliance with Regulations 27 of the Public Elections (registration of voters) Regions, 2016 which states that “the Commission shall certify the register after determination of claims of objection.”

According to Regulation 27(2), the procedure for certifying the register includes:

(a) “matching of fingerprints in the database of the Commission by automatic fingerprint identification system;
(b) “examination of facial and personal data of all applications with multiple registrations by an adjudication supervisor of the Commission
(c) “confirmation or rejection of a registered voter by an adjudication supervisor of the Commission.

More light

Throwing more light on the work of the committee, Mrs Mensa said the committee members would be presented with a number of cases that were flagged at the de-duplication stage of the multi-faceted mechanism to clean up the voter register.

She explained that the committee would deal with cases that concern persons who have different facial features but have some of their biometric features (fingerprints) matching other people’s.

“It will also determine the eligibility of persons who have same facial features and same fingerprints matching,” she said.

Mrs Mensa said the decision to include representatives of political parties and some CSOs was part of the commission’s measures to ensure transparency in the electoral process.

She urged members of the committee to be objective and strictly apply the law in determining the multiple registrants since that would be a major step toward a credible voter register and peaceful elections.

Credible register

The EC boss assured all Ghanaians that with the robust and all-encompassing processes it had instituted to clean the register, there was hope that the country’s electoral roll would be as credible as possible going into the December 7 elections.

She highlighted processes such as the challenge system where a committee at the district level sat to determine challenged cases; the de-duplication process where registrants’ data from the registration kits were transferred to the EC’s central data to determine multiple registration; as well as the adjudication system as mechanisms that would ensure that the register is thoroughly cleaned.

Mrs Mensa observed that the EC was of the firm conviction that a clean voters register was synonymous with a credible, transparent, free, fair and peaceful election.

“The Commission is of the view that the voter register is the bedrock on which credible election is built. It is, therefore, important that the new voters register bears the hallmark of integrity,” she added.

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