The Electoral Commission (EC) has registered a total of 2,276 prison inmates across the country, to enable them participate in the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
About 40,433 new eligible voters have also been captured onto the electoral roll during the continuous voter registration exercise, with 29,897 (52.7%) out of the over 56,000 deleted NHIS registrants re-registering.
These figures, according to ghelections.com’s sources, were disclosed at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting where a number of issues relating to the December 7 elections were discussed.
EC began the nationwide registration of prisoners on August 22, 2016, amid protests by some political parties like the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), that the exercise was being carried out without prior notification to stakeholders.
“We would have wished that much as the C.I 91 grants this activity of the Commission in consultation with political parties, the parties would have been duly notified/consulted before any such decisions are taken,” NPP pointed out in a statement signed by its Acting General Secretary, John Boadu.
As a result, the NPP requested the country’s election management body to explain how the voter registration was being done in the prisons nationwide.
Prisoners can vote – Supreme Court
The Supreme Court in 2010 upheld the rights of prison inmates to vote in general elections under Article 42, 1992 of Ghana’s Constitution.
Following the ruling by the apex court, then President John E. A. Mills announced during the inauguration of the Ankaful Maximum Security Prison in the Central Region on November 8, 2011, that the EC will be well-resourced to register prisoners for them to vote in the 2012 elections.
But the resources were not provided, hence the inability of the EC to register the prisoners for the 2012 general election.
In complying with the Supreme Court ruling, Constitutional Instrument (C.I 91), 2016, which regulates the registration of voters for the upcoming general elections, made provisions for prison inmates.