Yire/Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, Sept. 14, GNA – The Electoral Commission (EC) is to conduct a limited voter registration exercise in 47 districts from September 16 to 25, as part of its preparation towards the holding of referendum on the creation of six new regions.
The exercise would take place between 0700 hours and 1800 hours each day including Saturdays and Sundays with an hour of mid-day break.
Mrs Jean Mensa, the EC Chairperson, at a press conference on Friday, said in pursuant to Article Five of the 1992 Constitution, the EC was mandated to hold a referendum to determine whether the voters in the region to be created supported the creation of the new region or not.
It would be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo set up a Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the need and demand for the creation of new regions. The Commission was also required to make recommendations on the petitions received from citizens, traditional rulers and communities in the Western, Brong-Ahafo, Northern and Volta regions.
The Commission of Inquiry, in its report, proposed the creation of Western North, Oti, Ahafo, Bono East, Savannah and North East regions.
Mrs Mensah noted said the referendum would be held in the six proposed regions to be created; explaining that in this regard, the country had been zoned into two zones.
Zone one would comprise the areas carved out for the referendum and it would be held in 47 districts in the six proposed regions; while zone two would comprise the non-affected areas.
She said for zone one the limited voter registration exercise would be done online through the Commission’s Voter Management System (VMS); stating that registration would take place in the 47 district offices of the EC carved out for the referendum.
For zone two, the voter registration exercise would take place at the district offices of the non-affected areas at a date, which would be announced in due course.
She said applicants for the limited voter registration exercise were required to satisfy the criteria for eligibility as set out in Constitutional Instrument (CI) 91 Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 Regulation 1.
The CI states that to qualify to be registered as a voter one must be a citizen of Ghana, not below 18 years, should reside in the area where she/he wants to be registered as a voter, should be of sound mind, should not have already been registered, he or she must be the person he or she claims to be and should be qualified by law.
On proof of legibility to be registered as a voter, Mrs Mensa said Ghanaian Passport, Ghanaian Driver’s Licence, National Identification Card (Ghana Card) and Voter Identification (ID) Card could be used.
She noted that political parties were interested parties in the registration exercise and must, therefore, have their agents to observe the process.
She said party agents would challenge an applicant if they believed the person was not qualified to be registered; adding that party agents were not to interfere in the registration process.
She said a party agent could be asked to leave the registration centre if the registration officer felt that he/she was obstructing the registration process.
Mrs Mensa said all concerns or challenges relating to the limited voter registration exercise in the affected districts should be directed to the District Electoral Officer and the registration supervisors.
She said the EC had lined up various strategies and steps to ensure effective publicity and public education with regards to the first phase of the Limited Voters Registration Exercise.
She said the revision of the voter register had been gazetted in fulfilment of the legal provision, which required that the Commission must provide 21-day notice to the public and its stakeholders before the commencement of the registration exercise.
She said in the target districts, the Commission had commandeered additional pick-ups in the non-affected districts and regions to undertake publicity in the affected districts.
She said the vehicles, which were mounted with Public Address Systems, would be engaged in town, village and street announcement throughout the period of the exercise.