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EC reveals about 60,000 registered voters got duplicate ID numbers

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Dr Serebour Quaicoe - EC Director of Elections
Dr Serebour Quaicoe - EC Director of Elections

The Electoral Commission (EC) has revealed that it has detected that about 60,000 registered voters got duplicate voter identification numbers during the last mass registration exercise.

This anomaly, the Commission says is across about 100 to 110 districts.

It said the problem was generated by the biometric (BVD) kits during the mass registration process and was detected by the system itself when all the data was put together at the national level.

The Director of Elections at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe who made this known said the system itself has subsequently generated new voter ID numbers for the about 60,000 registered voters to correct the anomaly and new cards have been printed.

He said the anomaly is not something that is new and that it is a historical problem with the process as there were similar challenges in 2012 and 2016.

"In 2012, I think that in Central Tongu or so, all the people who registered in that particular district, their ID numbers were replaced. It affected Weija, a lot of them. These are issues that normally occur, the system will detect it at the data centre and the new cards are printed and replaced," he said.

Dr Quaicoe made this known in a television interview on Metro TV's Good Evening Ghana programme monitored by Graphic Online on Thursday night [September 24, 2020].

He said in all a total of about 16.9million people were registered in the last exercise, which is the highest ever voters registered in Ghana.

"What I want to establish is that, if the Commission had not informed the people, that there has been duplicate of ID card [numbers], they wouldn't have known... the video that was leaked and we said it is misleading, if you listen to the voice over, it said that we are doing registration, that is what the video was saying, [but] the people were not doing registration, they were only laminating, so the misleading part we said was in reference to the voice over that said we were doing new registration. Nobody is denying the fact that the ID cards were being laminated, but it was not new registration."

He explained that the EC was in the process of giving out the new ID cards with the new ID numbers to the affected registered voters and that the EC has the residential address and telephone numbers of the affected voters.

Dr Serebour, however said everybody who has a voter ID card will vote.

He gave this assurance when the host of the programme, Paul Adom Otchere asked what happens if some of the affected persons are unable to collect their new ID cards with the new numbers before the voting day.

"I also want to establish that, but because of possible use of the ID card for other purposes [such as bank transactions], for voting the [duplicate] ID numbers will not have any effect, because if you go there [voting centre], your biometrics will be scanned, your picture will appear, you will be verified biometrically and you will vote, it has nothing to do with the ID card, but because people normally use the ID card for other purposes, that is why we decided to change."

"I want to explain again that, whether you have an ID card or not, on the 7th December, once you are duly registered, you can still vote," Dr Serebour insisted.

Asked about the means by which the EC informed people about the anomaly and when that was done, Dr Serebour said: 

"Our policy as we have been doing is that we print them, send them to the polling station and contact the people involved and give them the card. We do that during the exhibition."

"These are normal things, when the parties change positions, they always come at the Electoral Commission. If you check the previous one, NPP was also doing the same thing so nothing has changed."

"They [people] think that when they are in power they are able to do something with the Commission and when they are out of power, they become antagonistic, I don't know. These are not new things... when they are in power it is different ball game," Dr Quaicoe said.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) through its flagbearer, former President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday reiterated that the party will not accept the results of a flawed election.

Mr Mahama also mentioned that the Electoral Commission (EC) had taken what he described as "unacceptable steps" which have the potential to disturb Ghana's democracy.

“Our party the National Democratic Congress and I have unflinching commitment to our democracy and we will do everything in our power to ensure it continues to be an anchor of this country – peace and stability.

“Let me also remind you that in the past few years, we have repeatedly drawn attention to a considerable number of unacceptable steps taken by the Electoral Commission as presently constituted. These steps have the potential to wreak the democratic architecture that has seen the conduct of seven successful elections for the past twenty or more years.

The NDC specifically mentioned the duplication of voter ID numbers, same picture for all registered voters in some polling stations and omission of some names in the register which is currently being exhibited as some of its concerns.

The NDC has argued that those problems have largely been detected in its strongholds and suspects that it was a deliberate attempt to remove its sympathisers and supporters from the voters register.

The part said it would have expected that "in good faith" the EC would have informed the political parties and get them involved in the process of resolving the anomalies.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) on its part has said those anomalies are administrative issues meant to be resolved and that is why the EC was exhibiting the register for the public to flag the anomalies for resolution.

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