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Politics of Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Source: GNA

EC to conduct limited biometric registration in June

Mrs. Georgina Opoku Amankwa, Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) in charge of Finance and Administration, disclosed on Tuesday that the Commission would conduct limited biometric voter registration in June.

Mrs. Amankwa said the impending registration is to afford Ghanaians who turned 18 years after the last registration in 2012 to register, as well as older people who could not register due to sickness or other issues.

She made this disclosure at a consultative forum on the public elections regulations (C.I.75) in Accra, on the theme “Deepening Public Confidence in Ghana’s Elections”.

Mrs. Amankwa cautioned individuals who had already registered not to register for the upcoming registration, cautioning that anybody caught registering again will be arrested and prosecuted.

She said individuals who have re-located from their previous areas, as well as those who have changed their names, are not supposed to register, but should visit the Commission to effect the changes, or address the issues.

Mrs. Amankwah said the Public Elections Regulations (2012) C.I.75 regulates the conduct of elections in the country including the District Level Election.

She said under the regulation, the Commission shall appoint a returning officer for each constituency in which the election is to be held and any other assistants of a returning officer determined by the Commission.

Mrs. Amankwah explained that the regulation states that a presiding officer may, before delivering a ballot paper to a person who is to vote at the election, require the person to produce a voter identification card or any other evidence determined by the Commission.

This, she said, is to establish by fingerprint or facial recognition that the person is the registered voter whose name and voter identification number and particulars appear in the register.

Mrs. Amankwah said a voter shall go through a biometric verification process, and must be present at the allotted station, and the presiding officer must be satisfied that the voter is registered and has not already voted or is voting as a proxy.

She pointed out that the upcoming 2014 district elections will be difficult to conduct because of the sheer number of candidates for each of the electoral areas in the country, and called for modifications of some of the C.I 75 to suit the district elections.

Mr. Alexander Poku-Akubia, Greater-Accra Regional Director of the EC, anticipated some challenges if the district level elections are conducted within the legal framework provided by the existing C.I. 75, such as the appointment of returning officers, writ of election, transfer of voters list and special voter’s list.

He said Article 2 (b) (ii) of the regulation states that, in case of a by-election, the poll shall be taken not less than 10 days and not more than 30 days from the date of nomination.

Mr. Poku-Akubia explained that while a specific timeline is prescribed for parliamentary by-elections in case of death of a Member of Parliament, this is not the case in respect of district level elections and that as a result, there are a number of existing vacancies in the various District Assemblies.

He said the forum is necessary because it will afford participants to identify more of the anticipated challenges and discover the pathway forward in democratizing the electoral processes.

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