The Electoral Commission says biographical data of Ghanaians who possess voter’s ID card will not be captured in the upcoming voter registration exercise to compile a new voters’ register for the December 2020 general elections.
It explained Saturday that bio details on the current voter ID card will be transferred onto a new voter ID card to be issued to eligible voters who show up at polling stations across the country to register.
Persons with the current voter ID cards will thus have only their fingerprints and photos captured in the registration exercise which is set to begin from April 18.
“Now what we will do is that [if] you go to the polling station, once you have the ID and your voter ID card is a legitimate one, we only take fingerprints and we take picture of your face and you’re gone,” Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe said on The Key Points on TV3 Saturday.
He said the decision not to recapture the biodata of persons with the current voter ID cards was taken after consultation and careful consideration.
Mr Quaicoe said an eligible voter will have to present at the polling station, a valid voter ID card, Ghana Card, a Ghanaian passport or driver’s licence to be registered in the exercise.
“If none of these four is available to you, then two guarantors who have already registered, will guarantee for you to be registered,” he added.
The Commission’s last minute decision to compile a new voters’ register just eight months to the presidential and parliamentary election has been met with stiff resistance from an alliance of some opposition parties and civil society.
Some critics have primary questioned the timing of the exercise while others have posited advocates of a new register have failed to make a strong case.
Two mammoth rallies in Tamale and Kumasi against the move to have a new voters’ register caused an intervention from the 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee of the EC and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to let calm prevail.
The dissenting political parties, who formed the Inter-Party Resistance Against a New Voters’ Register (IPRNA), consequently suspended further protests based on what it said was “good faith” shown by the EC to listen to them.
No turning back on new voters’ register
On the back of new development that the EC will go ahead with the registration exercise despite a scheduled meeting that was supposed to resolve the issue, the group on Friday announced a resumption protests.
According to the EC, the scheduled engagement with the 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee and the political parties next week, is not to seek consensus on whether or not to go on with the new registration.
“You can’t get consensus anywhere; it can never happen and it will never happen. If we want to get consensus before we act, then we will never act,” Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Quaicoe, said on TV3 Saturday.
The January 30 meeting, he explained, has been arranged for the EC to inform the stakeholders of its programmes concerning the new voters’ register, and solicit views on how best it can be implemented.
“We have our programme; we will explain to them and then we move on with the programme,” he stated, adding “there is no doubt about us doing the registration”.
He said the EC is not under any obligation to have consensus on issues before acting, saying “with respect to compiling new voters register, we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt there is the need for it”.