Voter registration exercise: Using only EC’s offices infringes rights of citizens — Lecturer
A Political Scientist and Senior Lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Kwasi Amakye-Boateng, has described the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) to restrict the upcoming limited voter registration exercise to its district offices as an infringement on the fundamental right of Ghanaians who want to register and vote in a public election.
He said the EC, with its behaviour and posture regarding the exercise, was sending wrong signals that it was not there to serve the public interest.
He welcomed the decision by the five political parties, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to go to the Supreme Court to compel the EC to ensure that the registration took place at the electoral areas where the people cast their votes and not only the EC district offices.
Dr Amakye-Boateng, who was expressing his thoughts ahead of the voter registration exercise in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the furore that surrounded the exercise could have been avoided if the EC had stuck to what the constitutional provisions said about the exercise.
Per an announcement by the EC, the exercise is expected to commence tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12, 2023, and end on Monday, October 2, 2023, in the 268 district offices of the commission.
Several stakeholders in the country’s electoral process have raised concerns over the decision by the EC to limit the exercise to its 268 offices instead of extending it to the electoral areas where the people cast their votes.
Dr Amakye-Boateng said the fact that the constitution mandated the EC as the only body to undertake the registration exercise for prospective voters did not mean that the individuals working there could decide to impose their will on the system.
“If you look at what is happening with the registration exercise, it is interesting because it looks like the EC has its own interest," he said.
“So what I am saying is that the EC should not have an interest that is different from the public interest, which is to serve Ghanaians at their convenience and not to overburden them as this voter registration exercise seeks to do,” he said.
He reiterated that it was the right of every prospective Ghanaian voter to register at their electoral area, which was more accessible and convenient than the current arrangement, which would impose extra costs and inconvenience the people.
Dr Amakye-Boateng said what would cure the issue of the yearly limited registration exercise was to make the Ghana Card the Voters ID Card for voting in the near future.
That, he said, could be done if the database was made available to ensure that those who are eligible to vote in an election did so.
"We need to do that so that we stop this merry-go-round of yearly limited voter registration and cure the issue of a bloated register,” he said.
“I will be looking forward to that day when our Parliament will also free themselves from registration politics and make provisions in the constitution that will enable us to use the Ghana Card to vote in an election instead of the Voters ID card," he stated.