EC to explain the exclusion of old Voters’ ID card for new register compilation today

EC to explain the exclusion of old Voters’ ID card for new register compilation today

Jean Mensa - EC Chairperson

The Electoral Commission (EC) will be furnishing the Supreme Court with all the legal premises for excluding the current voters’ identification card from the list of required documents to get unto the new voters roll.

The Electoral Commission decided to compile a new voters’ register for the upcoming 2020 general elections but the commission has taken out the current identification card as part of the prerequisite for getting onto the new roll. As a result, the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 4, 2020, ordered the Electoral Commission to provide the legal backings for its decision.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has appealed the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to determine whether or not it is unconstitutional for the EC to reject an existing voters ID as the basis for the upcoming voter registration exercise.

The NDC resists that the decision of the EC in rejecting an existing voter ID will marginalize many Ghanaians which is a violation of Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution and that, per Article 45 of the Constitution, the EC can only compile a voter registration once and periodically revise it.

The Seven Member Panel of the Court headed by Justice Anin Yeboah will, however, continue the hearing of the substantive matter on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

Background

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in March 2020 sued the Electoral Commission over attempts by the Commission to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The NDC argues in its suit that the EC lacks the power to go ahead with its plans because it can only “compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law”.

According to the writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the opposition NDC among other things demanded a “declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, 2nd Defendant [the EC] has the constitutional power to, and can, compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law. Accordingly, 2nd Defendant can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.”

The NDC in its case is also praying the court to declare as illegal the decision of the EC not to use the old voter ID cards as registration proof in the compilation of the new register. The NDC claimed that the decision which is without any justification is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution.