The compilation of a new voters register for the 2020 elections will begin on April 18, this year, the Electoral Commission (EC) has confirmed.
The commission has also expressed the hope that it will complete the exercise by May 30, 2020.
A Deputy Chairperson of the EC in charge of Operations, Mr Samuel Tettey, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, said the commission intended to mount a voters register exhibition from August 15 to August 28, 2020.
Giving details of the EC’s calendar of activities, he said it would deploy 8,000 registration devices to cover the 32,000 polling stations across the country.
He explained that the EC would use the cluster system for the registration, where four polling stations would form a cluster.
He said although the EC intended to spend 10 days at each cluster, mindful of the fact that the voting population in some polling stations was high, it might exceed the days at some polling stations to ensure that all eligible voters were registered.
Mr Tettey said after the 43-day registration period, the EC would provide a five-day mopping up period to take care of any exigencies.
Under its plans, he said, the registration of those with voter ID cards would be faster, explaining that because the EC already had their biodata, only the fingerprints and facials of such persons would be taken, unless such people desired to change some personal details for which they would be required to provide evidence.
For first-time registrants, he said, the EC would capture their biodata, including names, sex, names of parents, residential addresses, among other details.
Responding to some questions, a Deputy Chairperson of the EC in charge of Corporate Services, Dr Eric Bossman Asare, said the EC intended to finish with the tendering processes and the award of contract within a week or two.
But before then, he said, the Eminent Advisory Committee of the EC would engage all political parties, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the EC to put the stakeholders on the same page.
That meeting, he said, would take place next week, indicating that the processes were ongoing to explain to the stakeholders why a new voters register was essential for the 2020 general election.
Coalition against new register
The Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters Register, a coalition of six political parties, is opposed to the plan by the EC to compile a new register for the 2020 general election, citing cost, time and credibility as the basis for its opposition.
The parties are the All People’s Congress (APC), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Egle Party, the United Progressive Party (UPP), the United Front Party (UFP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC).
After demonstrations in Tamale on January 11 and Kumasi on January 21, 2020, the group has decided to suspend its planned nationwide protests until it meets with the Eminent Advisory Committee of the EC on the matter.
The group was scheduled to hold another demonstration in Accra on January 28, 2020.
Eighteen CSOs have also registered their opposition to the decision of the EC to compile a new voters register.
They said if there was the need for the collection of fresh data on citizens, “the more appropriate, most lawful and financially responsible and justified approach will be to let the National Identification Authority (NIA) collect and process the information”.
After that, it said, the NIA would then send the EC the subset of information it needed for the purpose of elections.
On the other side, 13 political parties have thrown their weight behind the decision to compile a new register.
In the estimation of the parties, the EC had made a solid case for a new register in terms of cost, time and credibility, hence their decision to support the commission to compile the new register.