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IEA to EC: Extend registration

Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has been urged to rescind its decision against extending the period for the limited voters’ registration exercise, which ended Sunday May 8, 2016.

The Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Samuel Tetteh, on Tuesday May 10, said the EC achieved its target in the just-ended limited voters’ registration exercise and, thus, there would be no need to extend the period for the exercise.

But several calls have come in from CSOs and other prominent voices requesting an extension of the exercise.

Apart from the National Peace Council, student bodies and the New Patriotic Party have urged the EC to extend the registration period because a lot of eligible students could not be captured. On Tuesday, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) also added its voice to the calls.

Its Executive Director, Jean Mensa, said: “I will say that to some extent it has gone very well and a number of people have been registered. However, we followed the process quite carefully and we are also aware that there are many others who would wish to be registered who did not have the opportunity and I know that we have said it will be proper that we do not disenfranchise people who are willing to vote or cast their vote for the first time.”

She added: “We have indicated that if resources will allow, it will be important for the EC to extend the registration exercise to allow those who are really keen and those who are serious to vote. We have called for an extension of two more weeks and we believe that any serious person who really wants to be registered will really have the opportunity to do so. I think that will ensure some peace and give some credibility to the process.”

Although Mrs Mensa admitted that the continuous registration process will give failed applicants another opportunity to register, she was doubtful about the convenience of the process.

“If you look at the proximity of the various centres where the registration is being done, it makes it very easy for people who are within a locality to go to their areas and register whereas if they go to the EC for instance to register, they may end up voting in a particular constituency which may be far away from where they live. I think that it is a great idea to have the continuous registration process, but I am not sure how convenient it will be for someone who lives in Weija and who has to come all the way to Ridge, that is, the office of the Electoral Commission, to register unless the EC’s offices within various constituencies and localities will be opened to allow that,” she said.

“I am not sure whether that process has been formalised. We are yet to receive any notification from the EC as to whether that process has been formalised. We are actually yet to receive a notification from the EC whether the continuous registration process will be effective,” she told Citi FM.

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