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General News of Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

EC could not manage overcrowding although 91% of centres were spacious – CODEO

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has pointed out the inability of EC officials to adequately ensure the “two-meter distance” between applicants at various registration centres in the country.

In its first preliminary report on the on-going biometric voter registration exercise, the election observers said in spite of the fact that most centres were spacious enough, the officials failed to enforce such arrangements.

“Observers reported that in some instances (28%), registration officials could not ensure that there was a two-meter distance between registration applicants in queue. Observers reported instances of overcrowding of people outside of the inner perimeters of registration centers. This is in spite of the fact that most registration centers (91%) were found by observers to be spacious enough to allow for the necessary social distancing arrangement. However, about 9% of the registration centers observed lacked the required space to enforce the relevant social distancing protocols for registration applicants.”

According to CODEO, the lack of respect for the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, particularly the lack of social distancing at some registration centres observed, is endangering lives.

The coalition has for that matter called upon the electoral body and the general public to exercise optimum responsibility in ensuring that human lives are not threatened unnecessarily.

“The Coalition is worried that there is some level of laxity in the respect for the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, particularly the lack of social distancing at some registration centres observed. Accordingly, CODEO calls on the Electoral Commission to consider additional mechanisms for enhancing the effectiveness of the respect for health and safety protocols at all registration centres at all times.”

Meanwhile, the Domestic Election Observers deployed 100 observers for the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) Exercise being carried out by the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) across the country.

CODEO has an observer each in 100 randomly and purposively selected constituencies spread across the 16 regions of the country.

During Phase One of the registration exercise (June 30-July 5) which just ended, each observer followed one EC registration team and observed the process at one registration center throughout the six days. Observers filed daily observation reports to the CODEO Secretariat in Accra.

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