The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has kicked against the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) to undertake a limited voter registration exercise in only its 250 offices across the country.
According to the party, such a move would end up disenfranchising many qualified potential voters.
The EC plans to undertake a limited voter registration exercise ahead of the assembly elections later this year but the NDC has taken issue with the mode being used by the EC which will see the exercise being conducted in all the 250 district offices of the commission.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Accra, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, contended that undertaking the exercise in the offices of the commission might pose challenges to potential registrants in view of time, distance, energy and expense that will be involved in their travelling from far distances to the offices of the EC.
Giving examples to buttress the point, Mr Asiedu-Nketia cited the Bole-Bamboi Constituency, stressing that people living in Bamboi, which is about 95 kilometres from Bole, the district capital, would have to travel to Bole to register.
“It will be the same situation for voters in Afram Plains South and North where the terrain is most unfavourable, as the people will have to traverse several water bodies and hills before arriving at the district offices of the EC,” he said.
According to the NDC, while in the past the EC had deployed registration machines to 6,000 centres to cover potential registrants in such limited voter exercises, the EC had currently planned to register Ghanaians who had attained 18 years or were unable to register during previous exercises at 250 centres, being the district offices of the EC.
“This represents 4.1 per cent of the number of registration centres used in the past nationwide exercises,” adding: “Is it the intention of the current leadership of the EC to disenfranchise Ghanaians, especially when of all the limited registration exercises related to district-level elections, this is the only one being conducted together with a referendum and can, therefore, be termed the most important?”
Compiling new register
Another issue raised by the NDC was about the proposal by the EC to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 election.
The position of the party is that it is a matter “the NDC considers very important and it ought to be tabled properly for a thorough discussion by all stakeholders.
This is because the voters’ roll goes to the heart of any election. We need to be told what is essentially wrong with the current register and what changes are needed to right the wrongs in the register”.
The NDC maintained that as a result of the available facts, it demanded an immediate reconsideration of the suggested mode of the limited registration from the district level to the electoral level so as to allow for mass participation of all eligible voters.
“In the absence of that, we can only come to the conclusion that there is a grand scheme by the commission to deliberately disenfranchise qualified potential voters,” the NDC claimed.