Jean Mensa, EC Chairperson
Jean Mensa, EC Chairperson

Limited voter registration: EC revises target

The Electoral Commission (EC) has said it does not expect to cover all 1,350,000 persons targeted for registration in the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.

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The EC said its immediate focus was to register 52 per cent of the targeted population by the end of the 21-day exercise which started on Tuesday, September 12.

The Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, who made this known to journalists at the Let the Citizens Know series yesterday, said although the target had been revised downwards, all eligible persons would have the opportunity to be registered before the 2024 general election.

Mrs Mensa explained that the EC would undertake a continuous registration exercise at all its district offices in 2024 for all eligible Ghanaians to be captured in the poll book.

Again, she said after the current exercise, there would be a mop-up registration for persons in hard-to-reach areas.

Context

The EC started the limited voter registration exercise on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, in line with Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution.

The aim of the limited registration exercise is to capture persons who turned 18 years since the last registration in 2020 as well as other eligible persons who had not previously registered with the EC.

The voter registration, which is expected to end on October 2, is being conducted in the 268 district offices of the commission across the country.

Ahead of the exercise, the commission had projected to register at least 1,350,000 persons.

Updates

Providing updates on the registration exercise, the EC Chairperson said 182,831 persons had been registered as of Saturday, September 16 (six days into the exercise).

Mrs Mensa explained that out of the 182,831 persons that had been registered, 53.9 per cent were males, while females constituted 46.1 per cent.

In terms of the breakdown, she said the Ashanti Region had the highest number of registrants with 29,255, representing 16 per cent of the total registrants across the country.

This is followed by the Greater Accra and Eastern regions with 27,264 (14.9 per cent) and 19,327 (10.6 per cent) respectively.

The Central Region comes next with 17,590 (9.6 per cent), followed by the Northern Region with 12,982 (7.1 per cent); the Volta Region with 12,681 (6.9 per cent); the Western Region with 11,644 (6.4 per cent), and the Upper East Region with 8,639 (4.7 per cent).

The Bono East Region captured 7,291 (4.0 per cent); Western North, 6491 (3.6 per cent); Bono, 6580 (3.6 per cent); Upper West, 5,241 (2.9 per cent); Savannah, 4,655 (2.5 per cent); Ahafo, 4,519 (2.5 per cent); Oti, 4,427 (2.4 per cent) and North East, 4,244 (2.3 per cent).
 

Challenges

Mrs Mensa admitted that the first two days of the registration exercise came with some challenges which were "swiftly resolved."

She explained that the initial challenges ranged from a temporary halt in the registration process due to disruption of internet, power supply, rainfall and breakdown of kit.

Again, Mrs Mensa said the online system deployed for the registration suffered a breakdown in some areas but was addressed with the addition of the offline data capturing.

The EC Chairperson also said the long queues that were witnessed on the first two days had been addressed with the addition of registration stations at some of the centres, while faulty kit had also been replaced.

Mrs Mensa stressed that as the body mandated to register voters, the EC would not supervise an exercise that would disenfranchise eligible Ghanaians.

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"The EC will do everything possible to ensure that all eligible voters desirous of registering do so to exercise their franchise," she said.

Touching on the reason to stick to its decision to use 268 of the EC district offices as registration centres, Mrs Mensa said the current exercise was not a full-blown one and the opportunity of a continuous registration would be carried out before the 2024 general election.

"This is not the only registration exercise prior to the 2024 elections.

There will be continuous voter registration in all our district offices in 2024 before the elections.

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We do not intend to disenfranchise any eligible voter," she stressed.

She added that the present circumstances of the EC made it impossible to conduct registration on electoral area basis.

“As you are all aware, the commission prepared a draft Constitutional Instrument (CI) for continuous registration in all district offices nationwide.

 It was for a sustained long-term basis.

Indeed, had the CI passed we would have had some six months to register voters at any time of their choice,” she said.

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 She also said the 2023 budget and workplan of the commission were prepared along the lines of continuous registration. 

“We did not factor registration on electoral area basis in our 2023 budget and workplan.

Hence our adoption of this method which is also in line with our long-term plan and vision,” she added.  

She called on all stakeholders in the ongoing exercise to play their role as expected of them to ensure a successful exercise.

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