Registration of voters: Parliament adopts CI to make Ghana Card sole registration document

 Parliament has by a majority decision adopted the report of the Special Budget Committee which backs the use of the Gha­na Card as a sole docu­ment for registration of voters.

Though the minority was opposed to the idea, it lost the voice vote to the majority caucus as determined by the Speaker of the House, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.

By this adoption, the Electoral Commission (EC) can now lay the CI, Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulation 2023 and wait for its maturity in 21 sitting days to become effective.

This came after a heated debate between members on the opposite sides of the House with officials of the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) in attendance.

Moving the motion for the adoption of the report, Majority Chief Whip and MP for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, urged members to support the motion for the EC to be able to undertake registration to capture new entries onto the roll.

He dismissed concerns by the minority that the new CI, if matured, would disenfranchise Ghanaians.

Per the report of the Special Budget Committee, there would be no new voters roll but a continuous registration to capture persons who have turned 18 and those who have not registered in the last exer­cise in 2020.

The report also limits the registration centres to district offices instead of polling sta­tions as used to be in previous registration exercises.

The former Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Ha­runa Iddrisu, in his argument in opposition to the report said limiting the registration to the district offices would disenfran­chise rural voters.

He cited an example of a community in the Bole District of the Savannah Region called Babator where residents would have to travel 80 kilometres to be at the district capital to be captured on the roll.

Arguing that the new CI is an affront to constitutional provisions which mandates the EC to make registration easy, he said limiting the qualification documentation to the Ghana Card, knowing the difficulty people encountered registering their SIM cards, gives limited options and wondered why the guarantor system was removed.

Describing the proposals of the EC as “problematic” Mr Iddrisu said “we must not accept it. Registration of voters must be at their polling stations for them to know where on election day, they would cast their votes”.

However, a former Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee and MP for Akua­pim South, Osei Bonsu Amoah, who backed the proposal said the guarantor system has been abused over the years.

Mr Amoah said people took advantage of the guarantor system and became guarantee contractors at a fee; a develop­ment he said compromises the eligibility of voters on the roll.

The House after adopting the report, went into the Commit­tee of the Whole where the heads of the EC and the NIA took turns to brief members on the rationale behind the decision to make the Ghana Card the sole identification document.

The briefing was also to exam­ine the preparedness of the NIA

 to ensure every eligible Ghanaian secured the card to be able to be enrolled onto the electoral roll.

At the time of filling this report at about 6:30 pm yesterday, the EC and the NIA were making presentation to the Committee of the Whole on the proposal.


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