“This is the last mass voter registration exercise” – EC

The Electoral Commission of Ghana has said the recently-ended mass registration exercise is the last one it will ever conduct again.

“This is going to be the last time where we are going to compile a mass register like this and even beyond that, the Commission is anticipating that in future register compilation, when we are adding people onto it, everyone will come with an identity document, which is the passport and the Ghana card, so, that’s why we want to do everything possible [to make sure it is clean].

“The de-duplication process has been triggered. We want to make sure that all those who are not qualified to be on the roll are removed.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that we have a register that is very credible, so that we won’t come back to Ghanaians and say we are going to do that. But this Commission has made that point very clear. Now, we’re only going to be adding on to this particular register”, Deputy Chair of the EC Dr Eric Bossman Asare told journalists at a press conference on Friday, 7 August 2020.

Also, the EC said it maintained the old register and not compiled a new one, the existing roll would have been bloated by 3 million after it had added more voters to the old document through a limited registration exercise.

It, thus, said the just-ended voter registration exercise has helped the election management body rid the resultant roll of 3 million ineligible extras.

Dr Asare said: “The Commission’s main objective of compiling the new voter register was to ensure a credible and a clean voter register, which would stand the test of time”.

So far, he said, “the numbers the Commission has been able to register is a testament to our mandate as an election management body (EMB) that seeks to undertake processes that ensure we deliver elections that are free, fair, and meet international standards”, pointing out: “A clean voter register is the basic foundation for ensuring that clean, credible, and transparent elections are delivered to the people of Ghana”.  

Crunching the numbers to buttress his point, he said the 2019 register had a total of 16,845,420 voters.

“Apart from this, we also had 797,493 people quarantined on the Duplicates/Multiples and Exceptions lists. The political parties are aware of this. When this is added to the registered voters, the overall total is a little over 17.6 million.

“Had the Commission maintained the old register and conducted a limited registration exercise in all electoral areas and registration centres, across the country, we would have estimated to conservatively add about 2 million Ghanaians on to the existing register.  

“Potentially, without the compilation of a new voter register, the Commission was on track to register some 19 million people plus another 800,000 people, who remain on the multiple and exceptions lists, who previously were denied the right to vote. “This would have given us a total number of almost 19.6 million persons, approximately 20 million, had we maintained the old register and conducted the Limited Registration Exercise as compared to the current figure of 16.63 million, some 3 million difference.

“With the compilation of this register those on the duplicates/exceptions lists from 2012 have had the opportunity to register”, Dr Bossman said.

In conclusion, he said the “Commission’s objective of ensuring a credible register is on track”.

“With an estimated population of 31 million, many experts will agree that a voter population between 50 to 55% of the total population for a country in sub-Saharan Africa is acceptable. At the current rate, and after the registration is completed and the register is certified taking into consideration the de-duplication process, we may have around 53% of the population in the register

“According to the Ghana Statistical Service’s estimates, Ghanaians who are at least 18 years are 17,624,686, which is approximately 57% of the estimated population of almost 31million.

“This means the numbers we are on track to register are well be within the threshold of those who qualify to vote.

“In the next few days when the entire process to certify the register is completed, the total number of registered voters will be announced to the general public.

“As a Commission we are pleased with what we have been able to do so far, and we are looking forward to the cooperation of all stakeholders for the success of our 2020 activities”, he noted.

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