Ghana’s Electoral Commission dispels voter registration extension

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has ruled out an extension of its just-ended limited voter registration exercise.

Charlotte Osei - Ghana's Electoral Commissioner (EC)
Charlotte Osei - Ghana's Electoral Commissioner (EC)

This is in spite of requests from students of the country’s universities and representatives of some political parties and other bodies to consider extending the exercise to afford more persons the opportunity to register.

Charlotte Osei - Ghana's Electoral Commissioner (EC)
Charlotte Osei – Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner (EC)
The exercise, which began on April 28 and ended on May 8, captured 1,105,686 new voters as against a planned 1.2 million.

The EC however says it will give eligible voters who could not register the opportunity to do so in a continuous registration process it intends to roll out soon.

Samuel Tettey, Director of Elections at EC, told the state-run Daily Graphic in an interview Tuesday that there was an opportunity for such persons.

“There is this opportunity for continuous registration and all those who could not register can use the continuous registration to do so,” he stressed.

He said contrary to public perceptions that many people were not captured, the exercise was the highest recorded limited registration conducted by the EC.

While the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it does not see the need for an extension of the exercise, the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), and the National Democratic Party (NDP) are calling for it.

The Director of Elections for the ruling NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, told the Daily Graphic that calls for the extension of the just-ended limited registration exercise must be discarded by the EC.

“I think if you give Ghanaians even one month, on the last day you’ll have the same problem. Ghanaians will want to stay and wait till the last day to go and register,” he argued.

Ofosu Ampofo again argued that the EC is under pressure to meet all its schedules before the November 7 polls, such as the exhibition and cleaning of the register to ensure a credible electoral roll.

The NPP National Youth Organizer, Sammy Awuku, however said most eligible voters, particularly students on the campuses of tertiary institutions, had been disenfranchised and must, therefore, be given another opportunity.

Awuku said the NPP’s checks at the University of Ghana campus established that approximately 7,000 students who were eligible voters had been disenfranchised.

The Director of Communications of the NDP, Ernest Owusu Bempah, said the party expected the EC to extend the registration period because some prospective voters were not able to register.

But the EC has stuck to its guns and may only be expected to roll out the continuous registration before the elections. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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