The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has raised concerns about the Electoral Commission’s (EC) move to register Senior High School (SHS) students in schools without registration centre.
Deputy General Secretary of the party, Peter Boamah Otokunor says these newly created centres have not been gazetted to allow for their use in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
“It is bizarre to have an Electoral Commission that is even scattered in thought and planning. No political party has a list of schools that is going to be used for the exercise. As you are already aware, some of the schools are registration centres and the exercise is going on there. Now they are adding all other secondary schools that are not polling stations. The law states clearly that the Electoral Commission has the power to create polling stations but when they do so, they must go through the process of gazetting and publishing them to political parties, 21 days before the time”, he said.
The EC has served notice that it will from Friday, July 10, 2020, deploy registration officials to various Senior High Schools across the country to capture eligible voters onto the new electoral roll and also issue them their ID cards.
This was after the decision was communicated to political parties during an emergency Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting on Thursday, July 9, 2020.
But in an interview with Eyewitness News, Mr. Boamah Otokunor says that the plan is illegal.
“So this exercise they are going to have is not only illegal, it is unacceptable and unethical especially considering the fact the EC waits to do all they want to do and call political parties to inform them a day before the exercise. Now we have the EC, unethically and unacceptably do their thing and say they are going to do registration in all secondary schools. This is most unacceptable, bizarre and must be resisted by all well-meaning Ghanian”, he added.
The development comes after some members of the public raised concerns about the exclusion of SHS students from the ongoing voter registration exercise.
It had been argued that with most of the students camped in their various schools and a rule for all students to remain within the school premises and no visitor entertained, eligible students may be disenfranchised.
EC to go ahead
An official statement by the electoral management body issued on Thursday, July 9, 2020, indicated that the two-exercise which ends on Saturday, July 11, 2020, is scheduled to be rolled out in senior high schools without registration centres.
“The Electoral Commission wishes to inform the general public that, it will embark on a two-day registration exercise for all eligible Senior High School students across the country. This registration will take place in all Senior High Schools that do not have polling stations (registration centres) within the schools,” the EC said.
Additionally, all students who are 18 years and above and are eligible for the card have been asked to present their National Identification Card (Ghana Card) or Ghana Passport for the registration process.
Those without any of these two requirements are being advised to make use of the guarantor system.
There had been earlier suggestions that the EC should set up stations in the various schools to register students but that action was not taken immediately.
The EC, however, says additional days will be announced when it becomes necessary to ensure that all eligible applicants are registered.
There is also an assurance from the Commission that all COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed to safeguard both students and registration officials.