Start voter registration exercise in places not under lockdown – Lawyer Sam Okudzeto to EC
Sam Okudzeto, a senior legal practitioner and former President of the Ghana Bar Association, has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to start the voters’ registration exercise in places outside the partial lockdown.
The Electoral Commission suspended its planned compilation of a new voters’ register over the ban on public gatherings imposed on Ghanaians as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease that has bedeviled the country.
The exercise was initially scheduled for April 18, 2020, but no new date has been announced following the suspension.
The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area including Tema and Kasoa as well as the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area are currently under lockdown in a bid to check the spread of the disease.
The EC has said it wants to ensure that the voters’ register that will be used for the 2020 election is more credible and efficient than the existing one hence the need for a new Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS).
Sam Okudzeto, who is also a member of the Council of State, in an interview on Eyewitness News said the EC can compile the voters’ register in batches.
“Our cases of the Coronavirus is not as dramatic as it is in many countries which means that we only have few pockets in the two big municipalities and few of the smaller ones. So since the lockdown is not the whole of Ghana, the EC should start the registration in areas where there is no lockdown,” he said.
EC and the new voters’ registration
The Electoral Commission is supposed to organize the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7.
The Commission is seeking to replace its biometric machines to better address verification challenges that could occur during the elections.
A key new feature the EC cited is the introduction of a facial recognition option in addition to fingerprint verification.
It also plans to make the Ghana Card and passport the only acceptable identification for the upcoming voter registration, but the announcement was received with mixed reactions from Ghanaians.
Opposition to the new register
The move for the new register has been met with opposition from key political stakeholders, including the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The opposition party called on Ghanaians to reject the EC’s plans because it felt the commission was yet to present a compelling argument for the compilation of a new register.
Over the course of deliberations, its officials even walked out of a meeting with the EC