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General News Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Revision of the voters' register takes off nationwide

Accra, July 31, GNA - The Electoral Commission (EC) on Thursday started the first phase of processes for the revision of the voters' register to ensure that all eligible voters are captured for the December polls.


The 11-day nationwide voters' registration exercises seeks to capture mainly the youth who have attained the voting age of 18 years and above, and people who could not register during the last exercise in 2006.


A visit by GNA to some of the 133 electoral areas out of the 236 being used in Greater Accra revealed that anxious youth defied the early morning heavy rainfall to report at the centres to register. The development is in sharp contrast to the usual registration apathy experienced at the early stages of similar exercises in the past. Some of the electoral centres visited included Taifa, Kwabenya, Dome, all in the Ga East District; Awudome, Gonten, Mukose in the Okaikwei District; Ngleshie, Kinka, Korle-Wonkon in the Ashiedu Keteke District and Additrom Day Care, Adabraka Presby, and Salem Secondary School in the Osu Clottey District.


In an interview with the GNA, Mrs Philomena Edusei, Deputy Regional Director, explained that applicants who were 20 years and above and were not registered would have to give reasons why they did not register in 2004 or 2006, when they were given the opportunity to do so. The registration of such persons would entail the administration of a declaration or undertaking form in addition to the normal registration procedures.


Mrs Edusei said all the district directorates had been instructed to intensify their publicity mechanisms through the use of mobile vans advertising.

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She said each registration centre would be manned by a minimum of four officials namely a registration officer, a shader, a laminator and a workshop operator.


On the role of Party Agents, Mrs Edusei said the EC, in collaboration with the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) agreed that they should not interfere in the registration process. "A Party Agent can be asked to leave the registration centre if the Registration Officer feels the Agent is obstructing the registration process."


Mrs Edusei said the Party Agents were also forbidden from talking directly to persons who turned up to register, cannot recruit people or campaign for their parties while at the registration centre and cannot touch any registration document without the permission of the Registration Officer.


Mrs Sabah Zita Okaikoi, National Democratic Congress (NDC) aspiring parliamentarian for Dome Kwabenya Constituency, advised the youth who had attained the voting age of 18 years to report to the centres and go through the registration process peacefully.


She said they should take advantage of the process and register to participate in the decision-making process of the country, adding, "register and be counted among the adult electorate population". Mrs Okaikoi, who is a legal practitioner, also urged the Registration Officials to be circumspect during the process, especially as it involved the youth who were full of vigour. Mrs Okaikoi, who was monitoring the registration process appealed to the media to assist the EC to publicise the exercise.

Source: GNA
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