Court clears Ghanaians abroad to vote in 2020

Human Rights High Court presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah has ordered the Electoral Commission to as a matter of urgency take all necessary steps to ensure Ghanaians in the diaspora vote in 2020 elections.

The 11 year old Representation of the People Amendment Act 2006, (Act 699) was passed into law during the Kuffour Administration but has since not been implemented. The court says the implementation must be carried out within the next one year.

The court in its judgement said the Electoral Commission (EC) has no justifiable reason not to carry out the dictates of a law the binds them. The court says the EC’s justification for the delay in implement is unreasonable and outrageous.

The Applicants who are all members of the Progressive Alliance Movement (PAM) a New York State incorporated nonprofit organization, we’re seeking from the Court “a Declaration that Applicants have fundamental human rights under Articles 17(2), 42 and 33(5), of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2006 [Act 699] Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Article 25 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Protocol 1 (article 3) of the European Convention on Human Rights

a) “to be registered as voter[s]” while resident abroad and being outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana, and doing so from/at their places of residence abroad or designated centers close to their places of residence abroad or from/at the Ghana Mission/Embassy within their jurisdiction abroad;

b) to be issued voters Identity Cards “to enable” them “to vote in public elections and referenda” while resident abroad and being outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana at the time of such elections, and doing so from/at their places of residence abroad or designated centers close to their places of residence abroad or from/at the Ghana Mission/Embassy within their jurisdiction abroad;

c) “to vote in public elections and referenda” particularly Presidential and Parliamentary elections while resident abroad and being outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana at the time of such elections, and doing so from/at their places of residence abroad or designated centers close to their places of residence abroad or from/at the Ghana Mission/Embassy within their jurisdiction abroad;

d) A Declaration that the non-compliance of 1st Respondent in particular to operationalize the Act 699 since same became law on the 24th day of February 2006 is a breach of Applicants’ fundamental rights under said various laws and legal instruments;

e) A Declaration 2nd Respondent’s failure, neglect or refusal to uphold/ensure full compliance/operationalization of the Act 699 since same became law on the 24th day of February 2006 is a breach of Applicants’ fundamental rights under said various laws and legal instruments;

f) A Declaration that each of the Applicant’s “right to vote and entitle[ment] to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda” in light of the Act 699 and said various laws and legal instruments is not subject to any condition precedent aside the article 42 age and sanity of mind criteria;

g) A Declaration that it is discriminatory for Respondents particularly 1st Respondent to continue to register abroad and ensure that a category of citizens studying abroad or working in Ghana’s Missions/Embassies abroad vote in public elections and referenda while in abroad to exclusion of the Applicants.

h) An Order of mandamus directed at Respondents particularly 1st Respondent to forthwith, uphold/ensure full compliance/operationalisation of the Act 699.

The Electoral Commission was represented by Baffour Gyawu Bonsu Ashia, Associate Lawyer at [email protected] and the Applicants were represented by lawyer Samson Lardy Anyenini.

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