Begin new voters’ registration exercise in non-lockdown areas – Sam Okudzeto to EC

Begin new voters’ registration exercise in non-lockdown areas – Sam Okudzeto to EC

Sam Okudzeto - Senior Legal Practitioner

A senior legal practitioner, Sam Okudzeto has advised the Electoral Commission (EC) to commence the compilation of the voters’ registration exercise in areas outside the partial lockdown.

The suspension of the EC’s planned compilation of a new voters’ register came to effect following the ban on public gatherings imposed on Ghanaians as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country.

According to Sam Okudzeto who also doubles as a former President of the Ghana Bar Association and a member of the Council of State said the EC can compile the voters’ register in batches.

“Our cases of the Coronavirus is not as dramatic as it is in many countries which means that we only have few pockets in the two big municipalities and few of the smaller ones. So since the lockdown is not the whole of Ghana, the EC should start the registration in areas where there is no lockdown,” he said.

Earlier, the exercise was scheduled to begin on April 18, 2020, but the EC has since not announced a new date following the suspension of the exercise.

The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area including Tema and Kasoa as well as the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area are currently under lockdown in a bid to check the spread of the disease.

The EC has said it wants to ensure that the voters’ register that will be used for the 2020 election is more credible and efficient than the existing one hence the need for a new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS).

EC and the new voters’ registration

The Electoral Commission is expected to organize the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7.

The Commission is seeking to replace its biometric machines to better address verification challenges that could occur during the upcoming elections.

To better satisfy verification, a key new feature the EC cited is the introduction of a facial recognition option in addition to fingerprint verification.

It also plans to make the Ghana Card and passport the only acceptable identification for the upcoming voter registration, but the announcement was received with mixed reactions from Ghanaians.

Opposition to the new register

The move for the compilation of the new voters’ register has been met with criticisms from key political stakeholders, including the main opposition party.

In the argument of the political stakeholders, the EC was yet to present a compelling argument for the compilation of a new register hence, the need to kick against it.

To an extent throughout deliberations on how to manage the situation resulted in some stakeholders walking out of a meeting with the EC.