The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has sued the Electoral Commission over attempts by the electoral management body to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections.
According to the NDC, the EC lacks the power to go ahead with its plans because it can only “compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law.”
The Attorney General has also been cited as a defendant in the case.
In the writ to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the opposition NDC among other things demanded for a “declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, 2nd Defendant [the EC] has the constitutional power to, and can, compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law. Accordingly, 2nd Defendant can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.”
Existing voter ID as proof of registration
Additionally, the NDC is demanding to rescind its decision to bar the use of old voter ID cards as registration proof in the compilation of the new register. It said the action is baseless and in breach of the constitution.
The party says a “declaration that the 2nd Defendant, in purporting to exercise its powers pursuant to article 51 of the 1992 Constitution to exclude the existing voter identification cards from the documents required as proof of identification to enable a person register as a voter without any justification is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution.”
Upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, specifically, Article 42, the EC’s purported amendment of Regulation 1 sub-regulation 3 of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I 91) through the Public Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2020 to exclude existing voter identification cards as proof of identification to enable a person apply for registration as a voter according to the NDC is “unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
The EC in December 2019 made public its plans to abandon its current biometric verification system and procure a new one that has a facial recognition technology.
It has also planned to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections, but the move has been fiercely opposed by a number of groups.
For instance, the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voter Register has in a number of demonstrations protested the EC’s decision but to no avail.
The EC has also made the Ghana Card and passport the only acceptable identification for the new voter registration, but the announcement has been received with mixed reaction.