Parliament has asked the Electoral Commission(EC) to provide further answers on a new constitutional instrument it is seeking to lay.
The Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2022 is seeking to scrap the guarantor system and make the Ghana card the only proof of nationality for voter registration.
Presenting the report of the special budget committee following a meeting with the EC over the CI, Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh-Dompreh stated the EC must appear before parliament with the National Identification Authority(NIA) over the decision to use the Ghana card.
Former minority leader and Tamale South MP Haruna Iddrisu argued the EC must never be allowed to lay the new CI in its current state arguing the decision to use the Ghana card will disenfranchise many eligible voters.
He argued the decision to restrict continuous registration to the district offices of the EC will be challenging to many potential voters.
“Mr. Speaker throughout history in 1993 since the establishment of the Electoral Commission, voter registration exercise is done at polling stations, not district offices. And Mr. Speaker I will use the example of Bole. A polling station in the Bole constituency is as far as spending 4-5 hours to get to Bole township in order to be able to be captured and register as a voter.
“So Mr. Speaker you have to travel almost 80km. So for the Electoral Commission to designate only district offices is problematic for us constitutionally, it is problematic for us administratively, and it is problematic for voters to identify. Mr. Speaker when the opportunity was given to voters to go and register at polling stations, it served two purposes, one, they know where to go and verify their names, and two, they know where to appear on election day to cast their votes. Now limiting it only to a district office will deny Ghanaians this opportunity which can also amount to an attempt to deny them a constitutionally guaranteed right under Article 42.”
The Chairman of the subsidiary legislation committee Dr. Dominic Ayine disclosed the EC officials failed to justify the basis for the amendments to the existing CI when they appeared before his committee.
However, Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued government will make resources available to the NIA to complete the Ghana card registration exercise. The Suame MP accused the NDC MPs of misleading the public.