One-man protester demands expansion of limited voter registration exercise
The Convener of Justice for Ghana (G4G), Dramani Selorm Dzramado, a social activist group, last Friday, staged a one-man protest at the national headquarters of the Electoral Commission (EC) to drum home the need for the commission to expand the limited voter registration exercise.
The sit-in protest, which started at 8 a.m., was hinged on Article 45(e) of the 1992 Constitution, which mandates the EC to undertake programmes for the expansion of the registration of voters.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Mr Dzramado explained that the EC’s decision to restrict the centres of voter registration to their district offices could deprive many eligible voters of their right to be registered as voters and to vote in public elections.
He said the decision to undertake the sit-in protest was to get the EC to rescind its decision to restrict the exercise to its district offices and added that many people, including the disabled, could be left out of the exercise.
Reacting to the EC’s assurance that it would maintain the sanctity of the voter’s register, Mr Dzramado said, “The sanctity of the register cannot be achieved by sacrificing Article 45(e) because it’s a constitutional provision so you cannot sacrifice that on the altar of sanctity.”
“So if you cannot achieve sanctity by expansion, then you’re blatantly being incompetent,” he said.
Mr Dzramado cautioned that if the EC did not follow the various constitutional provisions that guide the conduct of such an exercise, the commission was leaving itself vulnerable to a possible injunction with regards to the main elections itself.
“If they continue on their current trajectory, just one person can possibly have an injunction placed on the elections if he or she feels like he was not treated properly so that they can vote,” he added.
The EC, at a press briefing addressed by its Chairperson, Jean Mensa, weeks ago, announced it had targeted to register about 1.35 million people in the 2023 Voters’ Registration exercise, which commenced on September 12 and would end on October 2.
The nationwide exercise will be conducted between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.
It also stated that the registration exercise would take place in all the 268 District Offices of the Commission, including the Guan District.
Since then, several political parties, civil society organisations (CSOs), political activists, experts and disability groups have called on the commission to make use of existing 6,272 electoral areas for the exercise.
They lamented that the use of limited offices would affect the participation of eligible voters in the exercise, thereby creating unnecessary tension.
Besides, they said, using limited offices would impose unbearable physical and economic costs to individuals, especially persons with disabilities (PWDs), since most of them had to travel long distances to register.