The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to fall back on the old voters’ register if it is challenged to compile a new one ahead of the 2020 election following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
It observed that the EC may have no other alternative given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and the impact it is likely to have on the compilation of a new register.
The EC suspended its planned compilation of a new voters’ register over the ban on public gatherings imposed on people as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease that has bedeviled the country.
While many continue to cast doubts on the ability of the EC to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections, there have been proposals to the EC to begin the voters’ registration exercise in places outside the partial lockdown.
National Coordinator of CODEO, Albert Arhin maintained that the EC may have to reconsider its decision on the new register and settle on the old electoral roll saying “even if the pandemic subsides and there is not ample evidence to show clearly it is gone, then definitely there is going to be opposition facing the EC, it is not going to be easy, if we are not able to conduct the elections, there might be constitutional crisis.
“But I think by now, constitutional experts are thinking of a way out, the other option is, if compilation is not able to take place then maybe, they can use the old register but even there, how do you conduct the elections.
“If the pandemic hasn’t abated maybe by September or thereabout, it is readily even dicey because owners of the register don’t want to use it, maybe a way has to be found to compile a new one,” Mr Arhin cautioned.
On the issue of the registration in areas outside the lockdown, he expressed fears over its feasibility and reasonability because of disregard for social distancing, hygienic protocols and other safety precautions in stemming spread of the virus.
“If it is going to be done in areas that have not been affected, my problem is how the citizenry is going to behave in the rush to get registered,” Mr Arhin posited.