Since Ghana returned to democracy in 1992, the Electoral Commission (EC) and other stakeholders have all played pivotal roles to strengthen our democracy. Through elections and discussions on the best way forward, they have helped to make the country the beacon of democracy not only in Africa but the whole world.
As the election management body, the EC has cooperated not only with the political parties but also the electorate and other key stakeholders to ensure free, fair, transparent and smooth elections whose outcomes are acceptable to all.
That spirit of cooperation that has brought the country this far must not be lost or allowed to decline.
Yesterday, the EC began one such important national exercise geared towards ensuring an acceptable outcome of the 2020 general election — a nationwide exhibition of the voters register.
The eight-day exercise is to enable registered voters to verify their details and for them to assist the EC to clean the register of unqualified and deceased voters.
As usual, the Daily Graphic anticipates a slow start to the exercise, but it is our hope that it will peak with time. We implore all registered voters and political parties to take a keen interest in and advantage of the national exercise to help make the register as reliable as possible.
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In line with this, we would like to encourage all eligible voters in particular to check that their details as to names, sex and age were properly captured during the registration exercise.
It is recalled that many of the electoral misunderstandings we have had in the past often emanated from disagreements over certain details of voters. If the issues are not about a person being underage, foreigners attempting to vote, use of deceased persons’ ID cards by unqualified persons to vote, they are about a person with a valid card but whose name is removed from the register.
Regrettably, many voters and party officials have often not taken some of these national exercises seriously. The Daily Graphic, therefore, appeals to all registered voters to verify their details during the eight-day exhibition.
We must also avoid the tendency to always wait for the last day of such exercises to rush to the exhibition centres to check our details. The last-minute approach has often not helped but sometimes resulted in skirmishes by voters or political parties.
Fortunately, the EC is carrying out the exhibition at all the 30,702 polling stations to make it easier for voters to do the verification of their details. Of particular interest to the Daily Graphic is the start of the exercise from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, including Saturdays and Sundays.
But reports that the exercise could not begin in the Tamale Central, Sagnarigu and Yendi constituencies because the EC did not dispatch materials to those constituencies early must be addressed immediately. While we encourage registered voters to check their details from the register, we also urge the EC to put its house in order not to create discomfort for registered voters, as it will take a determined voter to go back to the polling station to verify his or her details.
Indeed, registered voters have every reason to be disappointed over the development. We, however, appeal to the affected voters not to let the disappointment prevent them from going back. Voters must remember that their vote is their power and that power begins with the verification of their details.
The Daily Graphic entreats particularly the leadership of political parties, to encourage their members to check their names.