The NDC minority in parliament continues to insist that the Ghana Card should not be the only document used to register voters on Ghana’s election rolls.
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It claimed that the Electoral Commission (EC) could not abolish the use of the guarantor system as a means of establishing eligibility to register as a voter.
The Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, said the exercise would rather disenfranchise the vast majority of Ghanaians at a press conference held in Parliament House yesterday, Wednesday, in response to the presentation by the Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa, on the decision by the EC to make the Ghana Card the sole base document for the registration of voters.
The Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Instrument, 2022, a new Constitutional Instrument (C.I. ), according to Dr. Forson, is not useful enough in its existing form to be presented to Parliament.
We hold the opinion that the tried-and-true guarantor system must be preserved in our voter registration process, and this viewpoint is absolutely non-negotiable, Dr. Forson said in support of the usage of the system.
Any rational person should know that a source document for the Ghana Card must also be a source document for the voter identification card, and vice versa,” he continued.
The National Identification Authority (NIA) owes a private partner that had locked up the Ghana cards in bonded warehouses GH1.5 billion ($117 million), according to the minority, who believe that the government should provide funding to the NIA to cover that obligation.
In order to fully clarify the issues for Ghanaians to grasp, Dr. Forson stated that the Minority would work with their mother party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to organize a significant forum on the subject in the coming days.
He stated that the Minority group would engage a wide range of stakeholders, including the country’s development partners, faith-based organizations, traditional authorities, and civil society organizations to get them to understand the issues given the critical nature of the issue at stake and the potential for the C.I. to undermine the country’s democracy and, thereby, disturb the peace and security of the country.
Dr. Forson cited Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, which reads in part, “Every citizen of Ghana of 18 years or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.” He claimed that the proposed C.I. by the EC aimed to limit the realization of Ghanaians’ rights.
It is crucial to remind the Electoral Commission that it has a constitutional obligation to promote the right to vote and refrain from introducing legislation that might restrict that right, according to Dr. Forson.
The Minority Leader claimed that the NIA acknowledged on the House floor that the process of issuing the Ghana Card was ongoing and could not be finished at any one time.
Because it would deprive millions of Ghanaians their right to register and vote, he argued, making the Ghana Card the only condition for voter registration could not be approved.
Asking prospective voters to go to EC district offices to be added to the register could be discouraging and expensive, according to Dr. Forson.
He encouraged the EC to use the polling places for ongoing registration as a result.
He added that restricting the continuing registration to only the EC district offices would make it difficult for voters to locate polling places on election day.