Regional News of 2014-08-04

Limited voters registration begins today

After a postponement and a Supreme Court action over procedure, Electoral Commission is finally set to register new voters today across 6,000 centers. The EC says the exercise will allow any eligible voter especially those turning 18 years after 2012 register.

It was scheduled to take place between June 20 and 29 this year but the Electoral Commission postponed the exercise because it could not secure the services of teachers who were invigilating BECE.

Plans by the EC to also allow NHIS card as an acceptable identification for registration received a strong challenge from political parties resulting in a legal battle led by the PNC National Youth Organiser Abu Ramadan, and a private lawyer Kwasi Danso-Acheampong.

The Supreme Court on 30, July,2014 upheld the application challenging the constitutionality of Regulation 1(3)D of C.I 72 which allows the Electoral Commission to use health insurance cards for the voters' registration exercise.

The plaintiffs argued that since one is not necessarily required to be a citizen to hold NHIS Card, accepting the card as a basis to register a person to vote in national elections is a violation of the constitution.

Following the court ruling, Principal Public Relations officer Sylviah Annoh tells Joy News the EC in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling will not accept national health insurance cards as identification by applicants.

"Prospective applicants are expected to have old voter ID card, national identification card, drivers’ license or a passport. If you are an applicant and you don't have any of these you can have two guarantors", she said. She added that the exercise will start from 7am to 6pm everyday and will end next week Wednesday.

Meanwhile, opposition New Patriotic Party's Acting Communication Director Perry Okudjeto is calling for vigilance to avoid breach of the Supreme Court ruling barring the NHIS cards. The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) says it will also deploy 350 of its field volunteers to observe the exercise.

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