The Electoral Commission is expected to by the close of today file documents at the Supreme Court to explain why it intends to exclude the existing voter’s ID as proof in compiling a new register.The document must justify the legal basis for not accepting the existing voters ID card as a form of identification in the forthcoming voter registration exercise.
A panel of seven (7) Supreme Court Justices last week ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to file by close of day Monday the 8th of June 2020, their legal reason why they have chosen to omit the existing voter identification card out of the list of ID cards acceptable for the upcoming voters registration exercise set to begin at the end of June 2020.
The panel was presided over by the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah. The other members of the panel were Justices Jones Dotse, Paul Baffoe Bonnie, Nasiru S. Gbadegbe, Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Nene Abayaateye Ofoe Amegatcher, and Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey.
The NDC instituted the action through the chambers of the former Deputy Attorney General in the Mahama administration, Dr. Dominic Aryine, (Ayine and Felli Law Office) seeking among others “a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, on whether the EC has the constitutional power to, and can, compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law”.
The opposition party was also seeking a declaration on whether the EC “can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections”.
The NDC additionally was seeking “a declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly article 42, upon the registration of and issuance of a voter identification card to a person, that person has an accrued right to vote which cannot be divested in an arbitrary and capricious manner”.
Deputy Attorney General
The two respondents in the case, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General, through their lawyers filed their response in opposition to the application by the NDC.
The Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, described the NDC’s claim in their application as “patently absurd, far-fetched, outrageous and grossly erroneous”.
Lawyer Justin Amenuvor on behalf of the Electoral Commission described the prayer of the NDC as “an interpretation by the party to serve its parochial interests not a proper appreciation of the 1992 Constitution as a whole”.
The Supreme Court in its ruling today the 4th of June 2020, ordered the EC to furnish the Court with the legal basis for their decision. The Court also asked the applicant to do same if it has any legal arguments within the same timelines given to the EC in order not to delay the case. The court further adjourned sitting to the 11th of June 2020 for the case to take its natural course.