The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has withdrawn its case at the Supreme Court questioning the power of the Electoral Commission to compile a new voters’ register.
This follows a directive from the Supreme Court judges for the party to make a choice on which of their two reliefs they wanted a decision on.
The lawyer for the NDC, Godwin Tamakloe, who was given the options while on his feet in court on Thursday, June 11, 2020, opted for a ruling on the use of the old voter ID, dropping the claim of the unconstitutionality the decision by the EC to compile a new register.
The NDC was seeking an order to stop the EC from compiling a new voters’ register and an alternative order declaring as illegal the decision of the EC not to consider the old voter ID cards as a proof of citizenship for registering to vote.
Ahead of the expected cour hearing today, there was heavy security presence at the premises of the Supreme Court.
The Court at its sitting last Thursday directed the Electoral Commission to submit its legal justification for seeking to exclude the old voter ID card from the required list of proof of eligibility to register to vote in the 2020 general elections.
This has subsequently been done with the NDC also filing a supplementary statement.
In its justification, the EC argued that it was an independent body and had the constitutional responsibility of determining how any registration exercise will be conducted.
It has also described the old voter ID as “a fruit from a poisoned tree” and a breach of Article 42 of the constitution, which defines who is qualified to register to vote.
The EC also cited the court’s judgement in the Abu Ramadan case, where it indicated that the use of the National Health Insurance Card to register a voter is inconsistent with Article 42 of the constitution and therefore void.
Parliament passes C.I.
Following a debate on the matter, Parliament voted to allow the EC to use the Ghana Card and Passports as the only forms of identification for persons registering to vote on June 9 after relevant Constitutional Instrument had matured.
The Subsidiary Legislation Committee, which considered the amendment, also could not arrive at a consensus as to whether the exclusion of a driver’s license and the existing voter ID from the amendment was constitutional.
The EC had presented the Public Election (Amendment) Regulation, 2020 (C.I. 126) to Parliament to amend C.I. 91 in order to change the current identification requirements.
The legislators voted in a 102 to 96 decision in favour of the amendment of the Constitutional Instrument empowering the EC to organise elections in the country.
This confirmed the old voter ID as no longer being valid for registering to vote.