Upcoming voter’s registration exercise postponed – EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has postponed the compilation of the new voters' register which was scheduled to take place this year ahead of the 2020 general elections.

This announcement was made after the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu, suggested that the EC may postpone the exercise after an Inter-Party Advisory Committee Meeting on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

According to the party’s general secretary:
“It will all depend on how we are able to contain particularly with the directive given by the President. As a result, their 18th April date is still tentative. It is likely to change depending on how it goes.”

This was also after the EC said a new date was going to be announced for the compilation of the new voter’s register as measures are being put in place to ensure the right thing is done.

“The software for the new register is almost ready. They (the EC) are waiting for the hardware,” he added.

Why do we need a new registration?

According to the EC, it wants to ensure that the register that is used on the election day is more credible and efficient than the existing one hence the need for a new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS).

The Commission is asking for a replacement of its biometric machines which will help them address verification challenges that could occur during the 2020 general elections.

The new feature that the EC laid emphasis on is the introduction of a facial recognition option in addition to fingerprint verification.

The EC first made the announcement on March 27, 2019, and has been granted a total sum of GHS390 million to carry out the registration exercise over a period of 50 days.

It also plans to make the Ghana Card and passport the only acceptable identification for the upcoming voter registration, but the announcement has been received with mixed reaction.

Opposition to the new register
Meanwhile, key political stakeholders, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have frowned on the decision made by the EC.

The opposition party called on Ghanaians to reject the EC’s decision since a compelling argument as to why a new voters’ register was not provided.

As a result, the Inter-Party Resistance Against New Voter Register, a group made up of the NDC, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Eagle Party, All People’s Party (APC) and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) have on three occasions demonstrated to express their dissatisfaction against the road toed by Electoral Commission.

This has led to the NDC suing the EC over the matter arguing that the commission lacks the power to go ahead with its plans because it can only “compile a new register for voters only once, and periodically revise its operations as may be determined by law.