The Danquah Institute (DI) has called on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, to postpone the limited voter registration exercise the Commission intends embarking on from March 21 to April 4.
According to DI Executive Director, Nana Attobrah Quaicoe, the postponement will enable the EC to consider and incorporate an all-important recommendation by the Justice Crabbe panel of five eminent persons on how a credible voter register can be compiled ahead of the 2016 elections.
It will be recalled that from October 29 to 30, 2015 the EC put together a two-day public forum on whether or not the country needed a fresh voter register ahead of the November elections. On December 21, 2015, the panel of five presented its report to the Electoral Commission.
In addition to the removal of 584,892 persons from the electoral roll, which the panel of five described as “the most critical both in terms of magnitude and copulative effect,” with implications on the credibility of the electoral process, the panel proposed a viable option for the cleaning up of the register.
According to Nana Attobrah, the panel proposed mandatory validation of all registered voters, something the EC has so far remained silent on.
“The validation process proposed by the panel gives all registered voters an opportunity to authenticate the inclusion of their names on the register by turning up at a registration centre, during a period of limited or special registration, to have their fingerprints biometrically verified, their facial image cross-checked with the EC database, and that they should turn up with not only their voter ID, but also an additional legally approved personal identification document to justify their eligibility and names remaining on the electoral roll,” the DI man said.
He further explained that considering all the options available to the country, validation appears to be the most viable way to produce a credible register in Ghana for 2016 without spending hundreds of millions of dollars, which the country does not have.
Validation, he said, and as defined by the report of the panel, means that all citizens who want to remain registered voters will be required to report to a registration centre (their polling station) during a certain limited period to be validated.
Mr Quaicoe indicated that in the words of the panel, “those who do not show up to have their voter status validated should not be maintained on the register, in much the same way that an eligible voter who does not appear for registration will not be inserted into the list.”
In view of this, the Danquah Institute was at a loss as to why “this most sensible and cost-effective proposal from the panel of experts is being totally ignored by the EC.”
Outlining reasons as to why the proposal was being ignored, the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute stated that “the EC has already given a date for the limited registration, which is from March 21 to April 4, and that exercise has nothing to do with validation as currently planned.”
He continued, “In our view the period for limited registration is perfect for validation as well. And the Danquah Institute, by this news conference, is asking the EC to postpone the date for the limited registration for another month or so, consider the proposal from the panel and work towards incorporating validation with the limited registration exercise.”
A DAILY GUIDE Report