Mrs Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission
Mrs Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

You don't have to be a registered voter in a constituency to contest parliamentary election there... - EC

“Per Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution, a person does not need to be a registered voter in a particular constituency to enable him/ her to contest an election in that constituency," the Electoral Commission has stated.

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However, if a person wishes to contest in a Parliamentary election in a constituency the person does not hail from, that person must be ordinarily resident there or have resided there for at least five years out of the previous ten years.

This explanation from the Electoral Commission follows an allegation by the National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress, Sammy Gyamfi, that the EC was in a collaboration with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the purpose of transferring the vote of one Charles Opoku to the Assin North constituency ahead of the by-election in that constituency.

According to Mr Gyamfi, this was to enable the said Charles Opoku to contest the upcoming by-election in Assin North.

But in a press statement dated June 5, 2023, the EC said Sammy Gyamfi's allegation was misleading.

Mr Gyamfi had alleged, "Our [NDC] unimpeachable sources have revealed that contrary to the clear requirement on the nomination form for the Assin North by-election, which demands that a candidate in the election must be a registered voter in Assin North, the said Charles Opoku is not a registered voter in the Assin North Constituency”, he said.

EC reaction and explanation

Reacting to the allegation, the commission said: “For the records, the EC has not received any such request from the NPP to transfer the votes of any person. This allegation is false and a figment of the author’s imagination. As usual, it is aimed at maligning the integrity of the Electoral Commission"

“Per Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution, a person does not need to be a registered voter in a particular constituency to enable him/ her to contest an election in that constituency.....However, if a person wishes to contest in a constituency where they do not hail from, they must be ordinarily resident there or have resided there for at least five years out of the previous ten years.

The commission added that to date, the NDC has not proved a "single" allegation they have made against the EC.

The EC further observed that the continuous maligning of state institutions such as the EC by the NDC only weakens and undermines the country's democracy.

The commission said it will continue to uphold transparency, fairness, and integrity in all its operations. while calling on Ghanaians to trust the EC to continue to deliver credible elections.

NPP's reaction

Meanwhile, the NPP in a press statement issued on Monday June 5, 2023 has debunked the allegations that the Party was in a plot to illegally insert the name of an unqualified NPP Parliamentary candidate into the Assin North Register.

The party said it has not even held a primary to select a candidate to stand on its ticket for it to go ahead and try to insert a name in the register in the constituency.

"It therefore beggars belief how the NDC is able to determine our Parliamentary Candidate ahead of time and to suggest that we are plotting with the EC to illegally insert his name in the Assin North register", he party stated .

Below is a copy of full statement by the EC:

RE: NPP AND THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION IN A PLOT TO ILLEGALLY INSERT THE NAME OF AN UNQUALIFIED NPP PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE INTO THE ASSIN NORTH VOTERS’ REGISTER

The Electoral Commission’s attention has been drawn to a misleading press statement attributed to the National Communications Officer of the NDC alleging collaboration between the NPP and the EC for the purpose of transferring the vote of one Charles Opoku to the Assin North Constituency to enable him to contest the upcoming by-election in the said constituency.

We wish to state that this is not true.

For the records, the EC has not received any such request from the NPP to transfer the votes of any person. This allegation is false and a figment of the author’s imagination. As usual, it is aimed at maligning the integrity of the Electoral Commission.

Per Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution, a person does not need to be a registered voter in a particular constituency to enable him/ her to contest an election in that constituency.

Per the Constitution, simply hailing from a constituency entitles a person to contest an election in that constituency so long as the person is:

A Ghanaian 
Twenty-one years and 
above Of sound mind
 And a registered voter

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In the event that a person who wishes to contest in a particular constituency does not hail from that constituency, that person will be eligible to contest if he/she is ordinarily resident in that constituency or has been a resident there for a total period of not less than five years out of the ten years immediately preceding the election for which he/she stands.

We make this point to buttress the fact that a person who hails from a constituency per the Constitution need not be a registered voter in the constituency he /she wishes to contest in. Simply hailing from there is enough.

As such there is no reason to engage in transfers as alleged by the NDC Communications Officer.

It is a well-known fact that the current Commission has been the most transparent and accountable in its operations. The Commission has carried out its mandate in strict consonance with the Constitution.

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To date, the NDC has not proved a single allegation they have made against the EC.

The continuous maligning of state institutions such as the EC by the NDC only weakens and undermines our democracy.

The EC will continue to uphold transparency, fairness, and integrity in all its operations. We urge the good people of Ghana to trust us to continue to deliver credible elections.

Below is a copy of the NPP's statement

THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY IS NOT SEEKING TO TRANSFER ANY VOTER TO ASSIN NORTII VOTERS REGISTER, IGNORE THE NDC’S BASELESS CLAIMS

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The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken notice of a press statement issued by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), on June 4, 2023, signed by the party’s National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, alleging that the NPP “is in cahoots with their collaborators in the Electoral Commission to transfer and insert the name of one Charles Opoku, into the Voters Register of the Assin North Constituency.

True to their character, the NDC’s statement is replete with spurious claims and baseless allegations intended to mislead the Ghanaian public and, unsurprisingly, prepare the ground for them to reject their imminent embarrassing defeat in the Assin North by-election.

For the avoidance of doubt, the NPP wishes to, by this statement. set the records straight by responding as follows:

I. The NPP emphatically debunks the allegations that the Party “is in a plot to illegally insert the name of an unqualified NPP Parliament, Candidate into the Assin North Register.

Over the years, the NPP has worked hard to maintain its enviable position as the pacesetter of multiparty democracy in Ghana, which includes the strengthening of independent democratic institutions of the State like the Electoral Commission.

As such, we cannot be the Party that would engage in any acts that would jeopardize the nation’s democratic gains.

2. The NPP has no Parliamentary Candidate for Assin North. As publicly advertised, the Party is yet to hold Parliamentary Primaries in the Assin North Constituency to elect the Party’s Parliamentary Candidate for the by-election.

It therefore beggars belief how the NDC is able to determine our Parliamentary Candidate ahead of time and to suggest that we are plotting with the EC to illegally insert his name in the Assin North register.

3. Since the NDC is deficient in their appreciation of Ghana’s electoral laws, we wish to give them some education on the relevant aspects of the Law. “Their claim that the NPP is seeking to transfer the name of a registered voter to the Assin North register to qualify him to contest in the parliamentary by-election actually’ betrays the NDC’s appreciation of Article 94(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution. Article 94(1)(a) does not require a parliamentary candidate to be registered in the constituency they wish to contest to be viable.

4. The Constitution only requires that a candidate be a registered voter, it does not matter where they are registered. The Constitution also requires a Candidate to hail from the Constituency he is seeking to contest. The two Candidates who have filed to contest on the ticket in the by-election hail from Assin North and have both resided in that Constituency beyond the minimum period of five years required by the Constitution.

5. It is in accordance with this that the Electoral Commission of Ghana only requires a Parliamentary Candidate to make a Statutory Declaration to the effect that he/she is a registered voter simplicita.

This can be seen under Part IV of the Parliamentary Nominations Form -2023, which was made available by the EC for aspiring Parliamentary Candidates in the by-electionv

6. Unlike them we are focused on selecting a qualified and capable candidate, one who carries no legal baggage like the NDC’s Mr. James Gyakye Quayson to represent the good people of Assin North.

7. The NPP wishes to assure Ghanaians, particularly the people of Assin North that it is committed to upholding and defending the 1992 Constitution.

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