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Parliament approves EC's CI, Voters Registration exercise to begin on June 30

By Mutala Yakubu
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Parliament has approved the Electoral Commission's Constitutional Instrument (C.I. 126).

This CI will allow the Commission to compile a new voters’ register with new requirements.

Out of the 198 MPs who were present in the Chamber, 106 from the Majority side voted in favour while 92 Minority members voted against it.

The Minority prior to the voting had argued that the C.I. will disenfranchise many Ghanaians who do not have a passport or Ghana Card – as the new requirements demand – before they can register to vote in the December 2020 elections.

They say the C.I. will spell doom for the country’s democracy and they will hold the Electoral Commission officials pushing for its approval responsible for any future occurrences.

READ ALSO: EC to begin compilation of new voters' register from late June

The Electoral Commission has made it clear that for one to be able to register for the new Voters ID, the person requires a passport or a Ghana Card and not a birth certificate or the old Voters ID.

The Electoral Commission (EC) has stated that the underlying legal reasons for its decision not to include the existing voters' Identification Card (ID) in its upcoming registration exercise is because the Supreme Court itself has held that the register is reasonably not credible and that by implication, the cards issued pursuant to it are also reasons not credible.

The EC made this accession in its thirty-one (31) page response to the order of a seven-member Supreme Court panel on the 4th of June 2020, to provide legal basis for its decision to exclude the existing voters' identity card from the list of IDs that are admissible for the upcoming voters' registration exercise due to commence at the end of the month of June. The EC’s Supplementary Statement of Case was filed today Monday, the 8th of June 2020 in fulfilment of the timelines given by the Supreme Court.

“In summary, the following are the legal reasons why the 2nd Defendant (EC) is not allowing the existing voter identification cards to be used in the upcoming voter registration exercise” . 1. “The existing voter register which was compiled in 2012 pursuant to CI 72 and revised since by limited registration exercises has been held by this Honourable Court as not being reasonably credible. By implication, the cards issued pursuant to it are also not reasonably credible” the document entitled “Supplementary Statement of case of the 2nd Defendant pursuant to the orders of the Court dated 4th June 2020” said.

The supplementary statement filed by lawyer for the EC, Justin Amenuvor, further stated that, 2. “In respect of the cards issued pursuant to ci 12, the 2nd Defendant (EC) has found that those voter identification cards were issued without any form of identification at all and its ineligibilities, breaches and excesses were imported into the 2012 register pursuant to CI 72 in breach of Article 42 and displacing the credibility of the CI 12 cards”.

The third point of the EC is that “it found a fundamental omission in its training manual and the manner in which the voter registration exercise was carried out in 2012 partly in breach of its own binding CI 72 and also in breach of Article 42 of the constitution”.

The fourth point is that “the 2nd Defendant wants a break from the past to remedy all the carried on ineligibilities, excesses and breaches of Article 42 as the existing cards have become fruits of a “poisoned tree”.

“It will be in continuous breach of article 42 of the constitution, to totally disregard this Honourable court’s own judgment to continue using the existing cards and It is in contravention of Section 8(1) of Act 750 (as amended) for the 2nd Defendant to accept the existing voter identification cards as a means of proving citizenship for the compilation of the new register,” the Supplementary Statement said.

“Your Lordships, we (EC) submit that what Section 8(1) of Act 750 (as amended) has done is to effectively exclude the existing voter identification card as a form of identification for the purposes of proving citizenship which is the first and foremost qualification required of an individual applying to be registered as a voter. It is the considered opinion of the 2nd defendant (EC) that to accept any form of identification, including the existing voter identification cards, which is not provided for under Section 8(1) Act 750 (as amended) as a means of proving identification for the compilation of the new register will be in contravention of statute” the EC’s. Supplementary Statement of Case noted in conclusion.

The EC has now announced that it will begin the compilation of the new register on June 30, 2020.