The Electoral Commission ( EC) will schedule its one-day voting registration exercise on Thursday, October 1 , 2020, unless there are any last-minute hitches, pending a complaint brought by the opposition National Democratic Congress against the exercise.
The EC declaration reported that: “As previously announced, the Electoral Commission will conduct a one-day voter registration exercise in all its district offices across the country tomorrow, Thursday 1 October 2020.”
The exercise would give registered voters who have forgotten to register the chance to do so in the just-ended process.
“In the December 2020 general elections, registered people who take advantage of this exercise will be allowed to vote,” the EC statement added.
The NDC sued the Electoral Commission over the decision by the latter to reopen the registry of voters.
The party claimed that it had taken the decision because, in compliance with the legislation regulating elections in Ghana, the Commission had not released the 21-day notice of the proposed exercise in the gazette.
NDC requires, inter alia, from the court’s declaration that the Electoral Commission behaved ultra vires in its effort to reopen and/or execute the registration of voters scheduled for Thursday, 1 October 2020, when the Electoral Commission did not publish in the Gazette, twenty-one (21) days’ notice to political parties and the general public of the registration of these voters
A one-day EC window was granted to registered voters who were unable to engage in the mass registration exercise organized earlier this year due to the closing of the borders to get their names captured in the election roll on Thursday.
Yet the NDC is bringing into question the EC ‘s decision.
It wants the court to give the EC an injunction to prohibit it from reopening the registry without first issuing a gazette.
For this expected exercise, the NDC also wants the court to direct the Electoral Commission to promptly comply with the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Rules, 2016 (C.I. 91).
60-day period requirement
The EC agreed to open the registry for the second time after a variety of inquiries from people who were unable to registry for their voter ID cards due to COVID-19 limitations.
However, after a 60-day restriction stated in the Public Elections Legislation, 2016, some political parties, including the NDC, raised reservations about the exercise.
Among other items, the Law specifies that the EC “must include in the register of voters the name of an individual who qualifies for registration as a voter and who is registered but who does not include in the register of voters the name of a person who qualifies for registration as a voter in an election but who registrations less than sixty days before that election.”
This means that if the EC is unable to comply with the 60-day deadline for the elections, even if it registers registered voters, it would not be allowed to exercise its franchise on 7 December.