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Politics of Thursday, 25 March 2004

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EC May Extend Registration Exercise

The Electoral Commission (EC) has given the assurance that it would not hesitate to extend the closing date of the ongoing registration exercise should it realise that many eligible voters were unable to register because of the problems being encountered.

It said although the commission was not happy with the turn of events, such as the lack of registration materials at certain centres, it was carefully monitoring the situation to ensure that all anomalies were rectified to have people to register within the time frame.

It has, therefore, asked potential voters not to panic about their inability to register their names due to the minor problems.Mr David Kanga, the Deputy Chairman of the EC in-charge of Administration, who gave the assurance in an interview in Accra yesterday, said there were still some more time for the registration to end and called on all who have not yet done so to try as much as possible to register.

He said the commission had more than enough of the materials to ensure that all eligible voters register to be able to exercise their franchise during the 2004 presidential and parliamentary elections.

He said the EC printed a little more than 11 million registration forms to cater for any eventuality although the EC was expecting close to 10 million people to register, according to the statistical data it had.

Mr Kanga said the distribution of the materials was based strictly on the data the commission had and noted that any shortage at any centre could be due to the fact the people who registered were more than the materials provided. Based on the problems of lack of materials at certain registration centres, the EC asked supervisors of the exercise to be more vigilant to ensure that no registration centre runs out of materials such as registration forms.

Since the exercise began last week, no day had passed without news of problems with the registration exercise in certain parts of the country.While some complain of shortage of materials such as registration forms and indelible ink, others say they were being harassed by some people to prevent them from registering.