Voter registration records slow start
The limited voter registration exercise began at a snail’s pace across the country yesterday as the Electoral Commission started compiling the register for the 2024 general election.
A common issue, described across the centres as “network challenge”, ran through the excuses of officials as the modest queues filed through in trickles.
Regardless, the registration process for first-time voters across the country was a particularly smooth exercise at the EC’s district offices nationwide.
The EC is expecting to register up to 1.35 million people as it carries out the exercise for the first time since 2020.
Despite threats of a court injunction and protestations, the exercise was noticeably smooth and prospective voters filed in orderly to complete the registration routine.
The 21-day exercise will end on October 2, 2023, and will register citizens who just turned 18 years and above and are eligible to vote in the next elections.
In the Tema Metropolis, scores of first-time voters thronged the EC’s office to participate in the exercise.
The usual chaos and sometimes violent exchanges that have often characterised such exercises in the metropolis were absent as agents and officials of the parties were seen engaged in hearty conversations.
The exercise was, however, slow due to what officials of the EC described as network challenges.
As of 10:26 a.m., only eight people had gone through the processes successfully and had been issued with their voter identity cards.
The Tema Metro Director of the EC, Manasseh Ofosuhene Asante, told the Daily Graphic that whereas officials had projected to register 300 people on a daily basis until the end of the exercise, the network challenges had caused delays to the process.
He also pointed out that the guarantor system in place had seen more young people turn up at the centre to go through the process.
From Tamale, Mohammed Fugu reports that the exercise took off smoothly across all centres in the Northern Region.
However, the exercise was quite slow at some centres.
At the Sagnarigu Municipal and Tamale Metropolitan offices of the EC, some EC Officers, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity, said the agents of the various political parties were very cooperative.
Elizabeth Konadu-Boakye and Jemima Okang Addae report that when the Daily Graphic visited some registration centres in Accra, many were seen in long queues and under canopies, waiting for their turn to register.
Some centres visited included the Electoral Commission's former head office at Adabraka, Madina New Market, Kaneshie Market and Baah Yard.
Speaking to Graphic Online on the registration so far, the Ayawaso Central NDC Constituency Secretary, Bernard K Gidiglo, described the process as smooth and quick.
“The first batch of people who came along with their national identification card were able to register fast”, he explained.
He, however, said those who came along with guarantors had made the process very slow, and attributed the overcrowding to that situation.
He said about 50 people had registered since the process began in the morning.
A registration officer at the Madina New Market, Livingston Amoako, said as of 3:30 p.m they had been able to register 26 people.
He also described the exercise as smooth and peaceful, with no issues.
He stated that despite the heavy rain, people still kept coming in to register; however, what was a bit of a challenge was that most people resorted to using the guarantor system instead of the Ghana card which slowed down the whole process.
He also noted that the process was slow because the district was operating with one computer, making it difficult to process the data of many people.
The District Electoral Officer Okaikwei South, David Chinery, said although the process had been smooth, they experienced network fluctuation which made the process slow.
"Due to network issues we were able to do just 11, but there are still more people outside waiting to be registered," he said.
Emmanuel Modey reports from Wa that two persons who already had their names on the register attempted to register again in the Upper West Regional capital.
The Wa Municipal Electoral Officer, Ben Alaglo, said although it was an offence and the two could have been prosecuted, the authorities decided not to heighten tension on the first day of the exercise.
He appealed to politicians, assembly members and community leaders not to indulge in acts that could cause them personal problems, saying the electronic system could detect double registration.
The Regional Director of the EC, Ali Ousman Adamu, said the exercise had begun smoothly, and advised qualified persons to visit the nearest EC offices to register.
From Koforidua, Haruna Yussif Wunpini reports that although the limited registration exercise took off smoothly, patronage was generally low.
The New Juaben North Municipal Office of the EC looked deserted as first-time registrants hardly came in to register when the Daily Graphic visited the centre.
Only nine persons were able to register as of midday, which the EC officer in charge, Dorcas Akoto-Donkor, attributed to low patronage.
She also noted that since some of them were coming from far, it made it very difficult for them to come in their numbers.
Mrs Akoto-Donkor expressed the hope that the assembly members of the various electoral areas would use the information centres in the communities to create the awareness to increase the numbers at the offices.
She stated that the patronage was expected to peak as the exercise progressed.
From Sunyani, the Bono Regional capital, Biiya Mukusah Ali, reports that the enthusiasm among those who wanted their names to be captured onto the voters register was high at the Sunyani Municipal Office of the EC.
The prospective registrants defied the early morning rain that hit Sunyani and its environs to queue for the registration exercise.
Although, the registration exercise at the Sunyani Municipal EC office started at exactly 8:10 a.m, as early as 6:30 a.m, the potential registrants had already converged on the office.
When the Daily Graphic visited the centre, the entire process was smooth and fast, as the registration officers had not encountered any problem with their devices.
There were some party representatives, particularly the NPP and the NDC, at the office monitoring and taking records of the exercise.
The Registration Officer of the Sunyani Municipal EC Office, Jonas Seli, told the Daily Graphic that it took less than 10 minutes to complete and issue a card.
He explained that the process was not complicated, adding that as of 11:46 a.m, they had registered and issued about 50 cards.
Gilbert Mawuli Agbey reports from Bolgatanga that the registration exercise took off smoothly in the region.
In the Bolgatanga Municipality, the exercise commenced at exactly 8 a.m. at the Municipal office of the EC with only few people waiting in a queue to get their ID cards.
Although it was anticipated that many new registrants would besiege the EC office on the first day to register, only a handful of them were spotted at the time the Daily Graphic’s visited.
As of 11:30 a.m., only 12 people had been registered, a development that officials attributed to the slow registration process.
A 20-year-old student, Caroline Ayinme Azongo, said she was happy that she finally received her voter ID card.
She lamented the slow registration process, saying it made them wait for a long time in a queue.
The Municipal Electoral Officer, Yaw Peprah, in an interview, said the exercise took off smoothly without any difficulties.