Party Agents of the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress monitoring the ongoing limited voter registration exercise in the Upper East Region are calling for an extension of the exercise.
According to them, officials at the Electoral Commission’s registration centres are overwhelmed by the high turnout of eligible persons for the exercise, coupled with network challenges of their online registration platforms and shortages of some registration material.
They insisted that the commission must ensure that eligible voters are not disenfranchised.
A visit to some registration centres at the Bolga municipal and Bolga East district, Talensi district and Bongo district saw long queues of eligible persons who have turned 18 years and above racing against time to register for their voter identification cards before the end of the exercise, on Sunday, 7th July 2019.
Speaking to Citi News, the Registration Officer, for both Bolgatanga Municipal and Bolga East District, George Konlan said, a total of 3,703 eligible persons have been registered so far describing the exercise as successful but not without challenges.
“Each day we have been registering a lot, averagely about 200 a day. Yesterday, some had to go back without registering and today the number is so great that we cannot register all of them and they have to come tomorrow. And those who will come tomorrow may have to come the next day. So, I don’t think we will be able to clear everybody before the close of the exercise on Sunday”.
But party agent of the NDC, Atiah Albert and the NPP, Richard Abagna are divided over a possible extension of the exercise considering the high turnout at the centre.
At the Electoral Commission office in Talensi District, a total of 2,517 persons have been registered onto the national voter registration database and party agents of the NPP, Naab Michael and the NDC, Awuni Achim want an extension of the exercise in order not to disenfranchise eligible persons.
Naab Michael said, “the days are limited and I don’t think we will be able to capture all eligible persons by close of day tomorrow Sunday and so, I suggest the Electoral Commission should extend it by some days to capture everybody”
“We had most of those who are up to the registration age of 18 years and above, in the second cycle schools and they vacated yesterday (Friday, 5th July).”
“And as you can see, the numbers are increasing and with this number, I doubt whether tomorrow Sunday, July 7, they will be able to finish it because more of the students will be coming tomorrow. So, I think the E.C should extend the time so that, the younger ones will be able to register,” Awuni Achim stated.
The situation was no different at the Bongo registration office where over 3,000 persons have been registered at the time of filing this report.
Party agents of NPP, Solomon Azure and the NDC, Roland Nzire opined that an extension of the exercise would afford more eligible persons to be enrolled onto the voter register.
Solomon Azure said, “ we have been having great numbers since the start of the exercise. Our greatest worry is that, the numbers are still huge and we are thinking that, the EC could extend the exercise to about three days to clear the backlog”.
“But the worry is that, by the close of Sunday, it will be impossible to finish registering all eligible persons and this has the tendency of disenfranchising others. And so, we are appealing to the Electoral Commission to extend the time by three days, so that, we can complete the exercise,” Roland Nzire stated.