Limited Registration: 500,000 Ghanaians disenfranchised – NDC
The main opposition NDC says the Electoral Commission failed to capture as many as 500,000 eligible Ghanaians in the limited voter registration process.
“Even though the NDC stands greatly vindicated in all our earlier demands, we still hold the view that the exercise could have been better managed considering the extent of deviation (+71%) from the ECs own target of 700,000. Meanwhile, the turnout of 1.2m also reveals suppression of over 500,000 potential registrants who may now stand disenfranchised, because of the ECs intransigence. This position is further validated by the fact that previous registration exercise which we are done at the Electoral area levels in 2014 and 2016 respectively, recorded turnouts of over 80% based on realistic targets derived from the statistical service.” the EC complained in a Press Statement issued on Thursday.
The Electoral Commission says a total of about 1.2 million new voters were registered under the limited voter registration exercise which ended last week.
Out of that number, the registration of 8500 new voters were challenged.
According to the commission, the 1.2million figure was provisional since it was still checking the actual figure with the Voter Management System (VMS) to delete multiple registrations.
But the EC in its statement said per their assessment, the exercise was fraught with irregularities and hence seeking to revise same in subsequent exercises.
It has therefore called for an urgent IPAC meeting for the purpose of reviewing and auditing the entire Limited registration process.
“It is important to underscore the point, that all the constructive criticisms and suggestions from the NDC were borne-out of our genuine desire to help build a stronger and more transparent electoral system as major stakeholders. A system that engenders public trust and confidence,” the statement signed by the Director of Elections, Elvis Afriyie said.
Below is the full statement;
Limited Voter Registration exercise conducted by the Electoral Commission closed on Sunday, 7th July 2019. The National Democratic Congress, first of all, applauds the resilient effort of citizens for the seriousness, enthusiasm and the alacrity attached to the process.
There is no doubt this renewed sense of national responsibility borne-out of the repulsion for Akufo Addo’s clueless, corrupt and oppressive misrule will lead to victory for the NDC in 2020.
The exercise was fraught with widespread irregularities and massive challenges that prevented most qualified voters from having access to registration facilities. These observations made across the country especially in NDC strongholds go to vindicate our earlier suspicions of collusion between some EC officials, and some elements in the ruling NPP party, to suppress the process in our strongholds.
CONCERNS BY THE NDC BEFORE THE EXERCISE
Prior to the commencement of the exercise, the NDC had cause to raise the following concerns which was unequivocally presented to the EC and the general public. Our concerns included;
• The erratic and inconsistent target set by the EC in relation to the projected number of qualified voters. The EC kept on changing their targets from 300,000 to 500,000 and finally to 700,000 without recourse to reliable statistical projections by the Ghana Statistical Service which stood at 1,752,000.
• The NDC indicated that the VMS (online system) at the various district offices of the EC were not designed for mass registration and that any attempt to use them for such a purpose was going to generate a functionality problem. The EC treated this advice with scorn.
• The NDC insisted the registration exercise must be decentralized to electoral areas levels using BVR kits as has been the practice. This advice was also treated with contempt. The EC had failed to service the BVR kits (offline system) even though Parliament had approved money for it. The EC insisted, that the kits were obsolete and no longer fit for use in the registration exercise (loosely referring to them as portmanteau kits).
• When the EC finally decided to partially agree to our request to use the BVR kits in order to expand the registration centres, we drew their attention to the possible challenges that could arise due to the deployment of the two different systems or technologies for the registration of voters in the same exercise. For their response, your guess will be as good as mine.
• The ramifications for the non-conforming attitude and the intransigence of the EC was very loud during the process. These led to unnecessary over-crowding, tensions and intimidations at the various centres.
CHALLENGES AND IRREGULARITIES DURING THE EXERCISE
The following are a few of the many challenges and irregularities that the NDC observed during the exercise:
• There were chaotic scenes and overcrowding at most of the centres; this caused many confrontations and intimidations.
• Some people posing as EC officials were seen registering people in their vehicles and other obscure corners. A GIMPA TESCON Executive was arrested and handed over to the police for investigation.
• Incidentally, at our last IPAC meeting, the EC told us that budgetry provisions and allocations had been made for their officials to rent standby generators for cases of emergency light out. So, the question is why didn’t they make those facilities available?
• There were widespread failures of Registration machines.
• There were varying complaints of violence and intimidation in NDC strongholds ranging from outright attacks on EC officials to that on innocent registrants by NPP hoodlums and some government officials. All of these incidents have been widely reported in the media.
• Many registrants could not receive their cards over a week or more after the exercise.
• There was an obvious ploy to disenfranchise prisoners even though the Supreme Court had ruled on prisoner’s right to vote. In most cases, Prison Authorities were demanding that only relatives guarantee for prisoners to be registered.
• Our records show that only a meagre 13.8%, constituting 110,125 registrants were captured by the online registration equipment. So much for the success of the limited registration exercise; so had it not being for the persistent advocacy and resistance of the NDC that led to the deployment of the extra BVR machines, one could imagine what would have befallen this registration exercise.
• Considering the fact that the EC rejected reliable statistical data (1,752,000) and rather relied on guesswork in the planning of the exercise, and the fact that over 1,200,000 people were registered, it is self-evident that such guesswork was going to lead to the severe challenges as we experienced during the exercise. No wonder the EC kept on changing the target (from 300,000 to 500,000 and finally to 700,000 only 2 days into the process).
Even though the NDC stands greatly vindicated in all our earlier demands, we still hold the view that the exercise could have been better managed considering the extent of deviation (+71%) from the ECs own target of 700,000.
Meanwhile, the turnout of 1.2m also reveals suppression of over 500,000 potential registrants who may now stand disenfranchised, because of the ECs intransigence. This position is further validated by the fact that previous registration exercise which we are done at the Electoral area levels in 2014 and 2016 respectively, recorded turnouts of over 80% based on realistic targets derived from the statistical service.
It is important to underscore the point, that all the constructive criticisms and suggestions from the NDC were borne-out of our genuine desire to help build a stronger and more transparent electoral system as major stakeholders. A system that engenders public trust and confidence.
We wish to as a matter of urgency request for an IPAC meeting called for the purpose of reviewing and auditing the entire process to make sure that the next limited registration exercise ahead of the 2020 elections does not suffer same or greater irregularities.