The Electoral Commission (EC) will from 7am to 6pm today, Thursday, October 1, 2020, re-open the voter’s register at its District Offices, for persons who could not participate in the mass registration exercise organized earlier this year.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) earlier sought an interim injunction on the exercise but the application was dismissed by the High Court.
Although the NDC says it has refiled an interlocutory injunction in line with direction from the High Court, the EC has indicated that the exercise will take place without any hindrance.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, the EC said eligible persons who register in this exercise will be able to vote in the December polls.
“As previously advertised, the Electoral Commission will undertake a one-day voters’ registration exercise…on Thursday, the 1st of October 2020 in all its district offices across the country…Eligible citizens who take advantage of this exercise will be able to vote in the December 2020 general elections,” the statement from the EC noted.
The NDC in explaining why it filed processes in court to stop the exercise said the Commission has not published in the gazette the 21 days’ notice of the planned exercise in accordance with the law governing elections in Ghana.
NDC is among other things seeking from the court “A declaration that the Electoral Commission has acted ultra vires in its attempt to reopen and/or conduct registration of voters scheduled for Thursday 1st October 2020 when the Electoral Commission has not caused to be published in the Gazette, twenty-one (21) days’ notice of this voters’ registration to the political parties and the general public,” the NDC averred in its statement of claim.”
60-day period requirement
The EC decided to open the register for the second time following several requests from persons who were unable to register for their voters’ ID cards due to COVID-19 restrictions.
But some political parties including the NDC expressed concerns over the exercise following a 60-day period limitation specified in the Public Elections Regulations, 2016.
The regulation, among others, states that the EC “shall include in the register of voters, the name of a person who qualifies for registration as a voter and is registered but shall not include in the register of voters the name of a person who qualifies to register as a voter for an election but who registers less than sixty days to that election.”
This implies that, if the EC is unable to meet the 60 days to the polls’ deadline, even if it registers eligible voters, such persons will not be able to exercise their franchise on December 7.