The Electoral Commission (EC) has said, there would be no extension for the just ended voters register exhibition exercise.
According to the commission, the 21 days allotted for the exercise, which ended last Sunday, was enough because it used to be done within 10 days in previous exercises.
Mr. Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, Head of Communications at the EC, speaking in a telephone interview with The Ghanaian Times yesterday in Accra, said though the exercise was poorly patronised, it won’t be extended.
He said that despite the fact that the EC was yet to lay its hands on the official figures regarding the exhibition, the daily reports it had received from its agents, the media and patrol teams indicated that the turnout was below expectation.
Mr. Dzakpasu attributed the low turnout to voter apathy and the reluctance of eligible voters towards the exercise.
In his estimation, because voters had in 2012 and 2014 checked their names in the register during the exhibition, they felt confident that their names were on the roll.
“The majority of the people, who checked their names, were first time voters, who were eager to have corrections made to their details, if there were some misrepresentations,” Mr. Dzakpasu said.
Asked if the exercise was able to purge the register of undesirables as intended, Mr. Dzakpasu said cleaning the register was a shared responsibility, and could only be done effectively if members of the public objected to names on the register and ensured they were removed.
“The EC just by itself cannot clean the register. If people failed to turn up with names of deceased persons, foreigners and minors and other undesirable names and put a challenge to have them removed, the EC can do nothing about them,” he stated.
That notwithstanding, the EC spokesperson said, the commission would play its role as an arbiter in the December 7 polls to ensure its success.
Mr. Dzakpasu urged NHIS card registrants, who could not register during the first window of the re-registration, to take advantage of the ongoing re-registration for that category of voters, and the imminent continuous registration exercise, which would be held on August 19 to 26.
He said the exhibition exercise for the NHIS card re-registrants and persons who would register during the continuous registration would be done “early September and by the end of the month (September), working closely with the political parties and other stakeholders, a final register will be prepared for the elections early October.”
Though the figures of verified persons, after the entire exercise, are yet to be made public, more than one million eligible voters, during the first week of the exercise had cross-checked their details, the EC had announced in a statement earlier.
By Julius Yao Petetsi