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General News of Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Voters registration - EC's cluster system causes confusion


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The clustering and phasing of polling centres in the electoral commission’s ongoing voters registration exercise seem to be confusing to some applicants in various parts of the country.

On Monday, June 30, 2020, which marked the commencement of the registration exercise, GhanaWeb visited some registration centres in Accra and found out that the clustering system introduced by the EC had left some applicants who turned up at various centres stranded and others confused.

For some of the applicants, the situation was as a result of the EC not embarking on sufficient public sensitisation ahead of the commencement of the exercise.

In late May, the Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, explaining how the clustering was going to work said;"this time around we are using five registration centres per a cluster. So, assuming you have 50 polling stations, you divide the 50 by five, so that you have 10 clusters. And each cluster will form one registration team and each team will be made up of two registration officers, two data entry clerks, one registration officer special duties, he will be in charge of commuting between the team and the district office as well as exporting data and the rest, then we will have the laminator."

"So, each phase for the five... will last for six days. So, what it means is that the registration officers will go to the first phase of the five polling station centre in that cluster. So when they go to the first cluster, they will be there for six days, and when they are there for six days, on the 7th day, they will rest due... and then they will move to the next registration centre in the second phase for another six days and one day to retool and then they will go to the third phase...," he added.

But owing to the low level of sensitisation and public education that was done prior to the exercise, some were left confused on where and when the exercise for their polling station was taking place.

According to some applicants, they showed up at a centre in their vicinity only to be told their polling station is not part of that cluster.

“I live at Kwabenya here, my polling station is at House of Praise which is not far from here. Looking at this crowd I am very sure that there are a lot of people who do not vote here. But they are here today because all that they have heard is registration is starting today and this is the place that it is taking place. The information as to when each polling station is coming under the registration process is not available,” Vincent Kuma, a resident of Kwabenya lamented to GhanaWeb when we visited the Balloon Gate centre in the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency.

According to Vincent and other applicants at the centre, this development has contributed to the lack of social distancing and crowding being experienced in several centres across the country.



The applicants, thus called on the EC to take measures that will ensure public sensitisation on the cluster system is made in order to forestall the challenges being experienced now in the remaining days of the exercise.

“The Electoral Commission can print out all the schedules for the six phases and display it here. Each schedule must be on one paper, so that they know that these polling stations it’s this period they are doing it,” Vincent Kuma suggested.

The electoral commission on Monday started its much talked about compilation of a new voter register for the 2020 general election and is expected to finish the exercise on July 6, 2020.



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