The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, has justified her outfit’s decision to push for the passage of the Constitutional Instrument (CI) that seeks to make the Ghana Card a prerequisite for voter registration.
The CI seeks to make the National Identification Card (Ghana Card), the sole document for voter registration.
According to her, the guarantor system is not the best under any circumstances since it presents several challenges.
Addressing Parliament on Tuesday, the EC Chairperson explained that, although her outfit is aware of the lapses in the guarantor system, they still used it because there is no alternative system.
“Over the years the guarantor system has presented us with several challenges. Unfortunately, we were unable to discharge it much due to the absence of a national identification card such as the one issued by the NIA,” she said.
Highlighting the major challenges of the guarantor system, she said “first of all the guarantor system opened the door for registered voters or guarantor contractors to guarantee and vouch for persons who are less than 18 years old.
“Secondly it allows these guarantors to vouch for persons who are not citizens of Ghana. Such unqualified persons usually, minors and foreigners use the door of the guarantor to try to get onto our register,” she said.
Mrs. Mensa said her outfit’s determination to ensure electoral transparency led to the formation of a committee.
The committee, she said, revealed that these unqualified voters were close to 40,000.
“It’s important to note that to rid the register of minors and foreigners in the year 2020, we established the district registration review committees…we were able to expunge close to 40,000 minors and foreigners from the register,” she added.
Mrs. Mensah argued that this number could determine who wins the parliamentary and presidential elections, therefore it is imperative to adopt a new system to address these lapses.
The existing system for registration of new voters requires the use of guarantors, who must be present at the registration centre at the time of submission of a voter application form.
Should the CI be passed, it would scrap the use of guarantors, making the Ghana Card the sole document required to register as a voter.
This, the Minority in Parliament has vehemently opposed on the basis that it will disenfranchise many, since many Ghanaians do not have the card.
However, Mrs. Mensah insists that, some 16 million Ghanaians have already been registered and the NIA can register the remainder.
“Today we are reliably informed that some 16 million Ghanaians are in possession of the Ghana card and with NIA assurance that they could print and distribute the remaining cards to registrants in a matter of weeks, we do not believe that we will be disenfranchising any person by enforcing the quality requirement of using Ghana card to prove one’s illegibility,” she added.
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