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Voter Registration: EC exceeds target

Mrs Jean Mensa, EC chairperson

The Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday commenced a biweekly update engagement with the media and announced that the registration centres were exceeding their daily targets of 100.

Some centres recorded about 200, a figure which was beyond the expected target. In all cases, the newly acquired BVRs are performing faultlessly, a departure from previous times, Dr. Serebuor Quaicoe, Director of Electoral Services at the EC, said during the “Let the Citizen Know” novelty at the conference room of the EC headquarters in Accra.

Biweekly Effort

At the biweekly engagements, the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs. Jean Mensa, said it would provide an opportunity for the dissemination of relevant information about how far things had gone with the ongoing registration exercise.

The engagements to be held on Wednesdays and Fridays, which is the first in the history of election management in the country, the chairperson said, would be a means of demystifying the operations of the commission.

Necessary Adjustments

The feedback to be garnered from such engagements, she went on, would offer a chance for making necessary adjustments to the work of the commission.

“The engagements would afford the opportunity for timely information transmission and to demystify the operations of the EC and to remove the cloak of secrecy surrounding it,” she said.

No Mysteries

She said the commission intended to open up to all Ghanaians because after all there were no mysteries about its operations, adding that this way trust could be built in the commission.

This would also remove the tension and suspicion about the work of the commission.

During such engagements, the chairperson said, it would put out details of the exercise across the country.

She said “we are keen to provide facts and let you be factual. We trust that going forward you would put Ghana and no other entity first.”

No Sensationalism

She called on the media to not be sensational about issues, as she spelt out the importance of the media in the work of the commission, adding “we should all be on the side of truth.”

It was an engagement which had the chairperson supported by her various schedule officers who took turns to brief the media about the journey so far.

No Mediocrity

Ms. Mensa said the commission had no room for mediocrity on the part of its officers, and those found not to be doing well were quickly removed.

Those working on the field were constantly monitored to ensure efficiency, she added.

The ongoing registration exercise, she explained, was part of the electoral process.

For an election to take place in December, such an exercise could not be overlooked, she said, adding that other processes include the exhibition of the register for registrants to inspect prior to elections.

More Registration

Dr. Eric Bossman Asare, Deputy Chairperson in charge of Corporate Affairs, said every eligible Ghanaian would be registered and so people should not leave their areas for others. This phenomenon, he said, reared its head at the University of Ghana campus, led to many turning up at registration centres to be applicants from other locations.

In addressing the issue of Ghanaians outside the country, he said the EC had done all that was required of it regarding the registration and voting of citizens not residing here.

ROPAL Factor

According to him, regarding ROPAL, he said “the court mandated the EC to do it. We have done all that is required of us regarding the C.I. It is left with Parliament to deal with it now,” he pointed out.

Samuel Tettey, Deputy Chair in charge of Operations, announced that the commission was in the second phase of the registration exercise.

In his overview of the registration exercise so far, he said EC officials engaged in the ongoing assignment had been efficient and skillful.

The foregone, coupled with the quality of the equipment being used, he said, had ensured the speedy registration of applicants.

“In some areas, as many as 280 applicants are managed,” he said with a glee of satisfaction.

According to the success being chalked up today, which is unlike what obtained in previous times, explaining that there were a few challenges at the registration centres.

He gave thumbs up to the environments of the registrations, which he went on, was peaceful and officials of the centres reporting to work on time.

Main Challenge

The only challenge faced so far, he pointed out, was the difficulty by some applicants to observe the social distancing protocol in some centres, coupled with insufficient information about movement schedules of the registration teams.

However, he said steps had been unfurled to address the overcrowding challenges in Accra in particular.

It has turned out that the overcrowding challenges are limited to some centres at Ashaiman, in Tema and some parts of Accra.

District officers have been asked to hire chairs as another means of managing the overcrowding features at some centres.

Additional BVRs, he announced, were quickly sent to areas which showed features of overcrowding and difficulty in adhering to social distancing.

The chairperson of the EC had also said that the EC had engaged the IGP to support with security personnel to enforce the social distancing as well as the nurses who manage the temperature guns at registration centres.

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