Politics of Sat, 31 Oct 201555
EC clarifies procedure for removal of names from voters register
Mrs Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on Friday explained that deleting names from the voters’ register is based on law and not merely on emotion expressed by a group or an individual.
She noted that in having a register that can be described as credible and acceptable, the decision must be grounded in law, Mrs Osei observed.
The EC Chairperson, who was speaking at the second day of the debate on the Voters’ Register, noted that, apart from what has been prescribed by law, the Commission cannot pander to the emotions of individuals or groups to alter the register.
She noted that one can be identified as a Ghanaian through marriage, adoption or by birth, among others…“Skin colour or accent or peculiar looks cannot be used as basis to deny a person's citizenship and therefore deny the person a right to vote.
“If Ghanaians do not want any of the options prescribed by law by which one acquires citizenship status, we could all agree and go through proper legal process to achieve that”.
Mrs Osei advised against the resort to emotive definition to tell; “who is a Ghanaian or not and should not be on the register. People who look different may be constitutionally entitled to a voters' ID card.
“We cannot use an emotive definition and say this one is a Ghanaian and this one is not a Ghanaian”.
Mrs Osei traced the history of Ghana’s electoral reforms from 1992 when there were no photos on electoral I.D to 2012 when the country went biometric but still people complained about impersonation, minors among others.
However a significant complaint on multiple registrations was eliminated, she noted.
She noted instances where minors are lured by political parties to register as well as dishonest parents who are enticed by political parties to get their wards registered.
Some parents also register kids purely based on ignorance, she said. Some do not know the age of their children, she admitted.
She explained that about 8,000 voters were identified as 18 year-old at one registration exercise and some years after, they still claimed they were still 18 years.
Mrs Osei noted that, as a country without a strong identification data base, “one cannot tell other person’s age by just looking at the nose.
“It beholds on all stakeholders – the community and political parties- to ensure that the right thing is done”.