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Continuous voter registration begins end of year - EC

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Jean Mensa — Chairperson, Electoral Commission
Jean Mensa — Chairperson, Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission (EC) will commence the continuous voter registration exercise by the end of this year, the Chairperson of the Commission, Jean Mensa, has disclosed.

Mrs Mensa said the exercise, which was meant to replace the limited voter registration system that had been used since 1992, would ensure an all-year-round registration of Ghanaians who turn 18 years and those who had not been previously registered.

She explained that the new regime meant that eligible prospective registrants would go to a district office of the commission to be registered as a voter.

However, she said the commencement of the new registration system was subject to the approval of the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) on Public Elections (Registration of Voters) that would be laid in Parliament.

C.I on voter registration

Speaking at the “Let the Citizens Know” series in Accra last Thursday, she said the commission had engaged Parliament on the C.I but it was yet to be laid before the floor of the House.

"Parliament is currently on recess and we believe that when the House resumes, these discussions will continue and lead to the laying of the C.I on the floor of the House.

"We are hoping that it will mature before the end of the year and once that happens, we will start the continuous registration of Ghanaians who turn 18 and those who could not register previously," She said.

The EC boss said the commission had put in place the needed systems for the continuous voters registration and was ready to start implementing it in all of its district offices.

She said if the C.I was approved by Parliament, the Ghana Card issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA) would be adopted as the only source of identification for any qualified person to register as a voter.

The new system

The Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations, Samuel Tettey, who addressed the press at the event, clarified that the continuous registration exercise was not meant for the over 17 million people who registered prior to the 2020 general elections.

He said it was only meant for persons who turned 18 years after the previous voter registration and those who were not previously registered.

Mr Tettey further explained that unlike the existing periodic registration system where eligible Ghanaians were only registered at stipulated times, the new paradigm would ensure that eligible voters registered at all times.

“Continuous voters registration means the registration process will be continuous so no one will have to wait for a date to be announced before they can register. Those who are qualified to register should just walk to our offices in all the districts where they wish to vote,” he said.

Significance of continuous registration

He noted that apart from doing away with long queues at registration centres that characterised the limited registration exercise, the new registration system would be less stressful and prevent the tendency of bussing people to the centres.

Again, he said, the continuous registration system would eliminate the tension that usually characterised the periodic registration exercises.

“We are confident that the continuous registration will minimise the bussing of prospective applicants to the registration centres and thereby lead to an orderly process,” he said.

Mr Tettey called on all stakeholders in the electoral process, including political parties, to support the new registration system.