The Electoral Commission (EC) says the use of the Ghana Card as the only source of identification for the continuous voters’ registration exercise is the surest way to rid the electoral register off minors and foreigners.
The Commission said the use of the Ghana Card would help to phase out the guarantor system which was often exploited by non-eligible persons to get onto the electoral register.
Addressing a news conference in Accra Thursday evening, Mr Samuel Tettey, Deputy EC Chair in Charge of Operations, said the constitutional instrument that would govern the continuous registration exercise would be laid in Parliament when the House resumed.
He said the Commission had targeted registering between 450,000 and 550,000 new voters in the continuous voter registration exercise every year.
Mr Tettey said the continuous registration of voters was an all year-round registration of Ghanaians who were at least 18 years old and had not previously registered as voters, adding that the Commission would not compile a new voters register.
“Rather, we would continuously register voters to update the current voters register to ensure that anyone who wants to register as a voter has the opportunity to do so,” he said.
He added that: “anyone who turns 18 simply has to walk to the district office of the Commission where the person wants to vote and register as a voter.”
There have been concerns about the EC’s decision to use the Ghana Card as the sole document for the voter registration exercise, with some commentators and political analysts warning that the move could disenfranchise eligible voters.
Mr Tettey debunked those assertions, stressing that the EC “will not leave any Ghanaian behind.”
He said the use of the Ghana Card for the registration exercise would rather guarantee the integrity of the electoral register.
He said the guarantor system allowed registered voters to guarantee for those who were less than 18 years and also guarantee for foreigners throughout the registration exercise.
“Such unqualified persons used the door of the guarantor system to try to get onto the register,” he said.
Mr Tettey said about the 10m out of the 17m registered voters had used the Ghana Card as the main source of identification in the 2020 registration exercise.
“We are reliably informed that, over 17 million Ghanaians have registered for the card as at last month and about 16 million Ghana cards have been issued.
“On the strength of these numbers, we are convinced that the one million applicants we are expecting to register as at now following the last registration exercise in 2020 are more likely to possess the Ghana Card,” he said.
Mrs Jean Mensa, Chairperson for the EC, said no eligible voter would be disenfranchised in the continuous registration exercise because there would be no deadline.
She said the country must be concerned about the presence of foreigners in the electoral register, adding that the use of the Ghana card would eliminate “guarantor contractors” who aided non-eligible persons to get onto the register.
She called on the National Identification Authority (NIA) to speed up the pace of printing and distribution of the Ghana Cards to make easier for interested persons to access them.
“The distribution of card is not rocket science. The NIA should be able to distribute cards to eligible voters within two and half years,” she said.