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Resolve challenges with Limited Registration Exercise – Law Society of Ghana to EC

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The Law Society of Ghana has called on the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Adukwei Mensah to reconsider what they described as unholy stands on the Limited Voter Registration Exercise. The group expressed deep concern regarding the nationwide difficulties including malfunctioning and nonfunctioning equipment deployed by the EC for the exercise that started on Tuesday.

“The Commission’s decision to restrict the Limited Voter Registration to ONLY its District Offices and the reported widespread malfunctioning of registration machines at many district offices present significant challenges to the integrity of the registration process and the sanctity of the electoral process as a whole next December.

“We believe that a fair and inclusive electoral process is fundamental to the progress of a democratic society, and access to voter registration should be convenient and free from unnecessary, and avoidable artificial hindrances,” the group indicated.

They continued: “Limiting registration to district offices can create barriers and self-inflicted bottlenecks for eligible voters, particularly those residing in remote or underserved areas, making it difficult or near impossible for them to exercise their right to vote.

Below is the full statement

Reconsider your unholy stands on the Limited Voter Registration Exercise

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13th September 2023

  1. The Law Society of Ghana expresses deep concern regarding the nationwide difficulties including malfunctioning and nonfunctioning equipment deployed by the Electoral Commission in the ongoing Limited Voter Registration Exercise, which began earlier today.
  2. The Commission’s decision to restrict the Limited Voter Registration to ONLY its District Offices and the reported widespread malfunctioning of registration machines at many district offices present significant challenges to the integrity of the registration process and the sanctity of the electoral process as a whole next December.

We believe that a fair and inclusive electoral process is fundamental to the progress of a democratic society, and access to voter registration should be convenient and free from unnecessary, and avoidable artificial hindrances.

  1. Limiting registration to district offices can create barriers self-inflicted bottlenecks for eligible voters, particularly those residing in remote or underserved areas, making it difficult or near impossible for them to exercise their right to vote.
  2. We are also informed and have ascertained that in some Constituencies like Ayawaso, Klotey Korley etc, the EC breached its own CI 91 (as amended by CI 126), and unlawful directed all prospective applicants to its new Headquarters near the abandoned National cathedral site. The net effect is that, the EC has converted its own headquarters into a registration centre instead allowing the registration to take place in these aubmetros or districts further compounding the problems of the people in these areas.
  3. The reported issues of wide spread malfunctioning registration machines further exacerbate these concerns. A functioning, effective, accessible and reliable registration system is crucial to ensure that all eligible citizens can register and participate in the electoral process without unnecessary delays or frustrations.
  4. The heavy tropical rains have also exposed the very porous physical arrangements in nearly all the District offices that undertook the registration on day 1 and will continue to be badly exposed by the vagaries of the weather of certain immediate steps are not considered and/or taken by the EC.
  5. In light of these developments, the Law Society of Ghana calls upon the Electoral Commission to as a matter of a national urgency consider the following:

a). Reevaluate the decision to limit voter registration to district offices and consider alternative methods to ensure wider accessibility to voter registration including but not limited to extending the Limited Voter Registration exercise to all the existing gazette’s Registration Centres in all the Electoral Areas in Ghana.

b). Address the reported issues of wide spread deployment of faulty registration machines promptly and effectively to prevent any disruptions to the registration process.

c). Maintain transparency and open communication with the public, political parties, and other stakeholders throughout the registration process to build trust and confidence in the electoral system.

d). To consider extending the Limited Voter Registration Exercise to 1 month instead of the declared 3weeks to afford the all eligible applicants to get their names into the register for the December2023 District Assembly General Elections.

  1. We urge all stakeholders, including the Electoral Commission, political parties, and civil society organizations, to work collaboratively to address these challenges and ensure that the ongoing registration is conducted in a manner that upholds the principles of fairness, transparency, and sanctity of the process.
  2. The Law Society of Ghana remains committed to upholding the rule of law and promoting the integrity of democratic processes in Ghana.

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SGD
General Secretary,
Law Society of Ghana

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM

 

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