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Source: Daily Guide Africa - Even before the Supreme Court takes a decision on the case brought before it by Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako to compel the Electoral Commission (EC) to undertake a validation exercise as part of efforts to clean the existing voter register, the EC has resolved not to undertake the exercise.
Instead, it has decided to clean the electoral roll using the provisions of the existing law which says that ‘When the register is exhibited, a voter can go and object to the inclusion of another person’s name by reason of being a dead person, foreigner, minor, having done double or multiple registration and not being of sound mind as provided for by the Constitution.’

The decision emerged after a meeting of the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on Friday.

Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, who communicated the decision to the various political parties, was said to have expressed fear that the validation exercise would disenfranchise people on the existing register.

There are about 600,000 dead people on the voter register and according to the EC’s VCRAC Crabbe committee, the names must be struck out of the register before any political party manipulates them to its advantage.

The VCRAC Crabbe panel fears that “this is too wide a margin to entertain.”

The EC arranged a two-day public forum which took place on 29th and 30th October, 2015 in Accra.

This was occasioned by petitions and calls by some political parties, civil society groups and a number of Ghanaians for a new register or an audit of the existing one – all aimed at ensuring a credible electoral roll for credible elections this year.

Members of the panel, chaired by former Supreme Court judge VCRAC Crabbe, were Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the Peace Council; Dr Grace Bediako, former Government Statistician; Alhaji Bin Salih of the Ahmadiyya Mission and Dr Nii Narku Quaynor, a computer scientist.

According to the calendar of the EC, exhibition of the voter register is expected to begin on June 29 and end on July 13, 2016, with the possibility of an extension.

That is when the EC would allow any individual or group of persons with an objection about the name of an individual on the register to file a protest.

But this falls short of the EC’s panel’s recommendation that a validation of the existing document be undertaken in order to remove all dead people as well as minors from it.

During the exhibition, people who were registered outside the country (overseas registrants) would also be exhibited for all to know their names and identities.

It also emerged during the meeting that the Electoral Commission intended to combine two electoral areas into one during the limited registration exercise due to lack of logistics.

It is therefore said to have sent out a list of the electoral areas which would be merged for the purpose.

“They claim they do not have enough machinery, that is registration device, so they will send it to one electoral area for five days and send it to another for five days so that people in the catchment area within that electoral area will go to the centre and get registered,” a source told DAILY GUIDE.

Aside that, “They also said they are going to host the register on their website so that people can look at their names during the exhibition period.”

The Commission has also decided to station biometric verification devices (BVDs) at the various polling stations during the exhibition period to enable people to go and verify their thumbprints.

This is intended to test the efficacy of the machines.
 


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