Voter register credible – EC insists

The Electoral Commission (EC) has insisted the voter’s register is credible, and has therefore, rejected calls for a new register for the 2016 general elections.

The register has the names of voters who registered using the National Health Insurance Scheme card, an ID Card the Supreme Court in a recent ruling declared as unfit to be used as an identification document to register as a voter. Nonetheless, the Electoral Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Christian Owusu Parry maintained that does not invalidate those registrations.

The Commission has since ceased accepting the NHIS card for registering new voters, but it doesn’t mean those who registered with it should have their names expunged, he explained to Joy News’ Editor Dzifa Bampoh.

There is, however, increased pressure on the EC to prepare a fresh register for the 2016 elections. The latest demand is coming from the Let My Vote Count Alliance.

The group’s Convenor Mr. Asante Boateng told Joy News even though the law does not take retrospective effect, the credibility of the register was affected by the Supreme Court ruling.

He claimed the EC has failed to make known names of persons added to the register in a recent registration to buttress the call for a new register. He also urged the EC to emulate Togo which used a fresh register in its last election when political parties raised issues with the previous one.

But the Electoral Commission would not yield to any demand.

“The Commission’s position remains the same, it has not changed. The register is very, very credible, and fit to be used for any election in this country,” Mr. Owusu Parry insisted.

He also responded to the questionable 200,000 voters it allegedly captured when it registered Ghanaians in the diaspora for the 2012 elections. The quoted figure “is completely false,” he asserted, explaining that the EC had targeted 2,350 but was able to register only 750 people across the world. He wondered where the 200,000 figure was cooked from.

Also, he said the EC has made available to the political parties, names of persons registered under the recently suspended registration exercise.

But the former Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Peter Mac Manu was not convinced, restating the party’s demand for a new register. He referred to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the election petition, to buttress his point.

There is the need for electoral reform of which “the voter register is a key component”, he maintained.

The EC says it does its own internal cleansing regularly, but in addition, the voter’s register would be exhibited for persons doubting its credibility to challenge unqualified names.

But Mr. Mac Manu said the EC must also agree and submit to external auditing of the register aside the exhibition.