Sole document for voter registration best option

On Tuesday, both the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Adukwei Men­sa, and the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Ken Attafuah, appeared before Par­liament to make presentations and answer questions regarding the use of the Ghana Card as the sole requirement for acquir­ing the voter’s identification (ID) card.

While Mrs Mensa was to justify the stance of the EC to accept only the Ghana Card for registration of voters, Prof. Attafuah had to prove the pre­paredness of his organisation to make it possible for eligible vot­ers to have the card to register.

The presentations were part of consultations ahead of the laying of a Constitutional Instrument (CI) to support the EC’s proposal.

Before their appearance in Parliament, there had been arguments opposing the EC’s stance, particularly from the Minority, who say millions of Ghanaians would be disenfranchised in the 2024 elections should the Ghana Card be the sole document for the purpos­es of voter registration.

Thus, they are opposed to the proposed CI meant to legitimise the EC’s stance.

Meanwhile in a pre­sentation to Parliament’s Committee of the Whole in Accra on Tuesday, Mrs Mensa said the proposed CI would not disenfran­chise eligible Ghanaian voters but rather enhance the credibility of the Ghanaian voter register, engender confidence in the electoral process and make the registration of voters a continuous (all-year-round) activity and inclusive as it will make it possible to capture all those who otherwise would be excluded in a limited registration pro­cess.

She also said it would prevent unqualified persons such as the under-aged and foreign­ers from influencing the country’s elections.

For his part, Prof At­tafuah assured the Com­mittee of the readiness of the NIA to deliver on its mandate of issuing out the Ghana Card to Gha­naians so that they could use it to register as voters (and for other purposes).

In spite of these assur­ances, members of the Minority in Parliament yesterday said they would not back down on their opposition to the pro­posed CI.

They reiterated their reason that if they allowed the CI to pass, millions of Ghanaians would be dis­enfranchised in the 2024 elections because they do not have the Ghana Card to register as voters.

We think both the EC and the Minority have good reasons for taking their various positions, yet they have to ease their stance and take a critical look at the issues raised.

For us, a sole document for voter registration is the best if the system can guaran­tee fairness such as the NIA opening more offices and making sure all impediments are cleared so at any time qualified Ghanaians, especially first-time voters, can have the card.

Truth be told that the cur­rent arguments have exposed the country concerning its birth registration and other sources establishing Ghanaian citizenship.

If these were done right, we would not have faced the current opposition to using a particular document as the sole requirement for voter registration.

The arguments presuppose that what obtains now is porous and those raising those arguments fear the current situation could be exploited.

In the face of that, there is the need for a consensus to use a sole document for voter registration and we think the Ghana Card is universal enough in the country for that purpose.

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