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General News Tue, 17 Feb 2004

Disabled, elderly to receive priority during registration, voting

Takoradi, Feb. 17, GNA - Mr. Albert Kweku Arhin, Director in charge of elections at the Electoral Commission (EC) has called on Ghanaians to give priority to the disabled, the elderly and chiefs during the replacement of the voters' register and also during voting. He said the EC, would also provide the necessary logistics to enable such people to participate actively in the elections and also ensure their safety.

Mr. Arhin said these at a day's training of political party representatives and the media on the replacement of the voters register at Takoradi on Monday.

He said the disabled, elderly and chiefs, should be accorded the greatest respect because of the peculiar nature of their needs. He said Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, empowers the EC to organize elections, adding that, the Constitutional Instrument (CI) 12 had mandated the EC to replace the entire voters register. Mr. Arhin said the new register would be used for the District and Unit Committee elections as well and appealed to qualified voters to go to the nearest polling stations and register when the exercise opened in March this year.

Mr. Arhin said apart from voters in the Upper East and West Regions, who would have their pictures embossed in their ID cards the same day, voters in other regions, would have their pictures embossed on the ID cards later.

He, however, cautioned that any photographer caught collecting money from voters before taking the photographs, would be arrested and prosecuted.

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He said the commission would use black and white photographs for the voter ID cards, explaining "they are more sharp, they do not fade easily and photographic materials could also not be stolen by personnel engaged by the commission to undertake the exercise."

Mr. King Addai-Darkwa, Deputy Western Regional Director of the Commission advised Ghanaians to take the registration exercise very seriously.

He said: "Anyone who refuses to register, will be disenfranchised," adding that, both the old voters register and ID cards would no longer be valid in the December 2004 general elections.

Source: GNA
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