Election Commission Ignites Political Fire in Ghana with Kickstart of Voter Roll Recompilation

Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has commenced the compilation of a new voters’ register that will be used for the country’s December 7 general elections. The constitutional exercise, as announced by the commission’s chairperson, Jean Mensa, at a press briefing Monday June 29, is being carried out simultaneously at 33, 367 registration centers in all 16 regions across the country. 

Prior to the kickstart of the registering exercise, some opposition political parties, civil society groups and some  individual members of the public had sought to oppose the EC’s decision to abandon the existing register to compile a new one for the forthcoming elections, which led to legal suits at the Supreme Court. 

The commission’s commencement of the compilation of the new register comes on the heels of the apex court’s upholding the election administration body’s arguments in favour of the compilation of a new voters’ register and using new requirements in the compilation of same.

EC's staff at work during June 18 pilot registeration exercise (C) ec.gov.gh

The EC had on June 9, 2020 also presented a Constitutional Instrument (C.I.126) to Parliament seeking a fiat to compile a new register, using either a Ghanaian passport or Ghana card as proof of identification or two guarantors who have already registered as voters, as requirements. The Constitutional Instrument received overwhelming approval in the House.

In her address to the media on Monday, June 29, 2020, Ms. Mensa implored all Ghanaians to turn up in their numbers in support of the commission to carry out the registration exercise successfully. 

“It is time for us to turn our energies towards the exercise of registering voters. Let us all join hands together, notwithstanding our differences, to ensure that every desiring Ghanaian of 18 years and above is able to register as a voter, and that only Ghanaian citizens of 18 years and above are able to register as voters”, she said.

Meanwhile the country’s largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a press conference addressed by its leader and flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court ruling of June 25, 2020, that gave the Electoral Commission the go ahead to compile a new register for the December polls, with exclusion of the existing voter’s ID card from the list of identification requirements.

The exclusion of the old Voter’s ID card, which has been used to conduct several elections under the current leadership of the Electoral Commission and from which the current President derives his mandate is aimed at deliberately disenfranchising some Ghanaians who have falsely been branded foreigners without any basis”, he stated.