NDC drags EC, A-G to court over compilation of new voters register

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has dragged the Attorney General and   Electoral Commission to the Supreme Court (EC) over the decision by the Commission to compile a new voters register.

The NDC noted that the EC can only revise the existing register and therefore, it the (EC) lacks the power to prepare a fresh electoral roll for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

It is recalled that the NDC, the biggest opposition political party in Ghana has had disagreements with the EC over the voters register.

While the NDC and other smaller political parties hold the view that the current voters register is fit for purpose, the EC, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), a number of opposition political parties and civil society organisations think that the register in its current state is incurably defective.

In its writ which seeks to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Apex court, the NDC urged the court to order the EC to include all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the EC as one of the documents serving as proof of identification for registration as a voter for the purposes of public elections.

The plaintiff asked the Supreme Court to  declare  that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, 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.

The writ, filed by counsel for the NDC, Mr Godwin Kudzo Tamakloe said the EC 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 further asked the SC for a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, specifically article 51 read conjointly with article 42 of the Constitution, the power of the EC to compile and review the voters’ register must be exercised subject to respect for and the protection of the right to vote.

The party want the court to hold that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly article 42, upon the registration of and issuance of a voter identification card to a person, that person has an accrued right to vote which cannot be divested in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

A declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article 42 of the Constitution, all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the EC to registered voters are valid for purposes of identifying such persons in the exercise of their right to vote;

It urged the court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Article 42, the 2nd Defendant’s  purported amendment of Regulation 1 subregulation 3 of the  Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I 91) through the Public Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2020 to exclude existing voter identification cards as proof of identification to enable a person apply for registration as a voter is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

A declaration that the EC in purporting to exercise its powers pursuant to article 51 of the 1992 Constitution to exclude the existing voter identification cards from the documents required as proof of identification to enable a person register as a voter without any justification is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution;

The plaintiff prayed the court for a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution specifically Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, proof of identification for registration as a voter should not be limited by the provisions of Public Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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