Politics

Guarantor system has outlived usefulness — EC

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The Electoral Commission (EC) has said that the guarantor system has outlived its usefulness, hence the need for a system that will ensure people are registered on merit rather than others vouching for the age and nationality of applicants.

That, it said, was the reason behind the proposed new Constitutional Instrument (CI) that would require the use of the Ghana Card as the only means of identification for new applicants to register as voters.

“Indeed the Ghana Card shows the age and citizenship of the bearer of the card, making it easier to identify those who are minors and those who are foreigners,” it said.

The EC has, therefore, urged the government to as a matter of urgency provide the necessary support to the National Identification Authority to register all qualified persons ahead of the registration exercise next year.

Event
At a press conference in Accra yesterday to give an update on the ongoing limited voter registration exercise, a Deputy Commissioner in charge of Corporate Services, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, expressed the commitment of the EC to ensuring that every qualified citizen was registered as a voter to take part in the 2023 district level elections and the 2024 general election.

He described the ongoing limited registration exercise as successful and that the EC may exceed the 700,000 target it had set for the exercise.

“We may increase the numbers to 800,000 or 900,000 looking at how the registration exercise is going and the number of days left,” Dr Asare said.

He said at the moment, the commission had registered 673,276 people, adding “we are currently averaging 50,000 registration per day since last week, and this is very remarkable”.

Dr Asare said first-time voters represented 86.1 per cent of the total registered voters.

Those between the 18-20 age bracket is 580,800, representing 86.3 per cent; 21-35 years — 74,010, representing 11 per cent, and 36-45 years — 9,471 or 1.4 per cent.

The rest are 46-55 years – 4603 or 0.7 per cent; 56-65 years — 2,736, representing 0.4 per cent; 66-75 years — 1,280 or 0.2 per cent, and 76 year and above — 376, or 0.1 per cent.

Commitment
Dr Bossman said: “The commission is desirous of registering everyone who is eligible; we reiterate that it is not our intention to disenfranchise anyone.”

In line with that, he said the commission had increased the number of kits at its district offices to accommodate the large numbers at the registration centres, as a result “the registration centres are becoming empty, however, reports reaching us indicate that our officials are fully ready to register all eligible persons who avail themselves at the registration centres before our deadline of October 2, 2023″.

He entreated parents to dissuade their wards who were less than 18 years old from registering because they might find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Challenges
Dr Bossman further said that as of the 16th day of the registration exercise, the EC had recorded 7,561 challenged cases at all registration centres, constituting 1.12 per cent of all registered voters.

“In nominal terms, the Greater Accra Region tops with 1,552 cases while the North East Region is bottom with 14 cases,” he said.

However, in real terms, Dr Bossman said that the Upper West Region leads with 444 cases, constituting 1.9 per cent of registered voters in the region.

Other regions with more challenged cases are the Savannah and Volta with 1.8 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively.

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