Elections

EC sued over limited voters’ registration

A resident of Daboya in the Savanna Region, has sued the Attorney General and Electoral Commission at the Supreme Court over what he described as attempts to suppress Ghanaian voters through the limited voter registration exercise to be conducted by the Commission.

The plaintiff, Umar Ayuba argued that conducting the limited voters’ registration at the district offices of the electoral body will disenfranchise a high number of potential voters.

According to the plaintiff, the practice of registration at electoral areas is now law per the Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (CI 91).

He added that historical records show that this approach has the advantage of bringing the voter registration exercise closer to eligible persons who are desirous to register.

Umar Ayuba explained that for eligible citizens residing in remote rural areas, the registration at the level of the electoral areas will minimise the cost of travelling to and from district capitals which, in most cases, are located far from rural dwellings.

He made particular reference to the Daboya-Mankarigu constituency, where a first-time voter residing in Bombo, a rural community in the constituency, needs to travel about 94 km to the district capital, Daboya in order to be able to register.

The Electoral Commission will embark on the limited registration exercise from Friday, June 7 to Thursday, June 27 in all its district offices and selected electoral areas across the country.

The EC had indicated that its decision is meant to cut cost. It however assured those in remote areas that they will be bused to the registration centres.

Nonetheless, the plaintiff is seeking an order of the court directed at the EC, who is the 2nd Defendant, to undertake the 2019 limited voter registration exercise in the manner prescribed by law, specifically the Public Elections (Voter Registration) Regulations, 2016 (CI 91).

“An order of this Honourable Court directed at the 2nd Defendant, its employees, servants and agents to desist from destroying any and all documents and records relating to the 2018 limited voter registration exercise conducted by the 2nd Defendant until the final determination of this suit,” he also prayed the court.

“Both the 2018 outstanding budget request which resulted in the decision to ring-fence funds for the procurement of BVR Kits and the approved capital expenditure budget of the 2nd Defendant in 2019 were premised on the understanding that the 2nd Defendant would undertake voter registration exercise in about 6,500 Electoral Areas across the country.

“In consequence, the 2nd Defendant has no reasonable justification to limit the upcoming voter registration exercise to only its 231 district offices as this approach will result in substantial suppression of votes,” the plaintiff argued.

Counsel for Umar Ayuba, Dr. Dominic Ayine reiterated in an interview with TV3 News@10 Thursday that since registration is a prerequisite to vote, attempt to register at the EC district offices will “suppress” votes in the rural areas.

Noting that his client being a former Assemblyman for the Yagbong Electoral Area in Daboya in the North Gonja District of the Savannah Region, has observed that the EC’s decision will discourage first time voters from registering.

He admonished all to take the conduct of the EC “seriously” because it amounts to breaching the constitution, something that should not be “tolerated”.

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