The National Democratic Party (NDP) has backed the argument of the biggest opposition party in the country, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for a new voters register ahead of the 2016 general elections.
It follows a petition submitted to the Electoral Commission (EC) by the NPP in which it claimed the current and existing voters register was not only bloated but filled with the names of foreign nationals.
This was after the party’s ongoing investigation into the national voters register uncovered the names of some 56, 286 Togolese nationals in the Ghanaian voters register, compelling the EC to demand written responses from the various political parties.
In a document addressed and presented to the Chairperson of the EC dated Monday, September 14, 2015 and signed by the party’s Acting General Secretary, Mohammed Frimpong, the NDP noted with emphasis that “a new voters register is the first, least and indispensable step for Ghana’s electoral integrity in the immediate term failing the superior option of total electronic voting.”
This, they said was because “we have examined the petition of the NPP over the compromise of the voters register” and “the National Democratic Party (NDP) is overwhelmingly struck by the evidence provided and in the party’s opinion places an indelible mark of failed responsibility by the EC.”
According to the NDP, “we are keeping a voters register fraught with many controversies and susceptible to all forms of human ruse and sleight of hand” insisting that “an insertion of scanned staple pin-marked still pictures into the register is irregular, illegal and unconscionable by the EC’s own regulation (voter registration) CI 72.”
“A proof of even a single scanned staple pin-marked still photo is enough to compromise the integrity of the register and the blame placed squarely at the door of the EC”, it said, to which end it said “a single and definitive voter identification is a necessary step to modernizing our elections.”
At this age and time, the NDP insists “our voters register is not only compromised but also outmoded when there has been a global switch from this anachronism to electronic voting machines (EVMs) with the only requirement of a single definitive voter identity”, citing India which has since 1998 been switching to electronic voters machine and perfected it in its 2014 general elections with what they described as ‘highly unprecedented efficiency.’
The NDP said “their EVMs are one-tenth of the cost of those used in the USA and elsewhere but full-proof, very robust, battery operated and deployed all over the stretch of the Indian sub-continent.”
As a party, the NDP indicated that they consider the fear of the unknown by many stakeholders as the only reasons why EVMs may not be the immediate option.
That notwithstanding, they noted that “by the Indian experience, Ghana’s electoral controversies are just a drop in an ocean but EVMs have eliminated all that in India and their idle EVMs can be borrowed for the 2016 elections.”