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Politics of Thursday, 30 November 2006

Source: GNA

Voters register is bloated - CDD

Accra, Nov. 30, GNA - The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on Thursday faulted the Electoral Commission's recent procedure for the exhibition of the voters register, saying it had led to an inflated register.
"The exhibition of the register at only 5,000 polling stations out of the over 21,000 denied many registered voters the opportunity to check their details and assist the Commission to delete the names of dead relatives," Mr John Larvie CDD-Ghana Programme Officer, stated.
A bloated voter's register is the failure of the Electoral Administrator among other things to delete names of dead electorate from the roll, Mr Larvie who was presenting a CDD-Ghana Survey report dubbed: "Reflecting on the District Assembly and Unit Committee Elections of September 2006," noted.
He explained that voter registration and exhibition exercises formed an integral part of the process for conducting a free, fair and credible election and, therefore, asked the EC to always endeavour to conduct the exercise at all the 21,000 designated polling stations. In spite of the apparent lapses on the part of the Commission, especially during exhibition of the Voter's Register for the Local Government Elections, the CDD-Ghana survey lauded the EC for injecting efficient electoral operational mechanisms at all levels. The Report showed that EC field staff were generally competent and well-behaved, assisted voter's, who encountered electoral challenges, cooperated with the security officials on voting day and gave the aged, pregnant women, nursing mothers and persons with disability priority at the polling stations.
It also said the EC created conducive polling environment for free and fair voting, and maintained law and order during the process. On the responses of voters to the electoral activities, the CDD-Ghana survey expressed misgivings about the high voter apathy, which resulted in low turn-out especially in the urban centres. CDD-Ghana, therefore, called on the EC and the National Commission for Civic Education, political parties, civil society organisations and stakeholders to invest in voter education.
Mr Kwadwo Safo-Kantanka, EC Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations, tasked the CDD-Ghana and other civil society groups to conduct research on the low voter participation in local elections as compared to national elections.
Professor Joseph R. A. Ayee, Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, who chaired the occasion called for a national debate to harmonise nagging issues of the decentralization process.