The limited voter registration exercise ended yesterday, with a number of people and the biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), calling on the Electoral Commission (EC) to extend the period to allow more people to get registered.
The exercise was conducted to offer Ghanaians who have attained 18 years since the last registration exercise, as well as those who, for one reason or another, have never registered, to do so.
However, as the exercise, which started on June 24, 2019, closed yesterday, many people who went to the various district offices of the EC to register were unable to do so.
When the Daily Graphic visited some of the registration centres last Saturday and yesterday, new applicants were seen in long queues, desperate to have their names registered.
At the Ledzokuku-Krowor registration centre, there was an intense struggle for space as many applicants massed up in a desperate attempt to register before the deadline, reports Edward Acquah.
“My 18-year-old son is still in school and will return home next week. Failure by the EC to extend the deadline means that those affected by the double-track system will be disenfranchised,” Mr Ismael Nartey, who was at the centre to guarantee for his daughter, stated.
The applicants, some of whom claimed that they had arrived at the centre as early as 2 a.m. last Saturday, blamed the congestion on a decision by the EC to register applicants from Teshie and Nungua at one registration centre, although the two areas were in different constituencies.
As of Friday, July 5, 2019, 9,453 people had been registered at the Ledzokuku-Krowor centre, while 3,850 had registered at the La registration centre.
According to the Deputy Registration Director of the Greater Accra Region, Mrs Gladys Pinkrah, who also had an oversight responsibility at the Ledzokuku-Krowor centre located at Teshie, officials at the centre turned away many applicants on the grounds of multiple registration attempts.
The situation was not different at the La Dadekotopon District Office of the EC where some applicants had equally been denied registration after it was detected by the system that they had registered before.
From the Osu Klottey District, also in the Greater Accra Region, Nana Konadu Agyeman reports that while many of the new applicants were being registered by officials of the district EC, others were in long queues as of 5.30 p.m. last Saturday.
A number of the applicants were optimistic of getting their names into the register, but others said it was certain that they would miss out.
When the Daily Graphic reached out to the District Electoral Officer for Osu Klottey, Mrs Hagai Rahael Owusu-Mensah, she said officials of the EC had made all efforts to ensure a smooth registration process, adding that as of last Saturday, about 4,600 people had been registered.
Vincent Amenuveve reports from the Upper East Region that some residents, especially SHS students, passionately appealed to the EC to extend the registration exercise or put in place a mop-up exercise to enable more people, including students, to register.
The appeal was made by some students who registered their frustrations in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday during the registration exercise at the Bolgatanga Municipal Office of the EC.
As of 2 p.m., long queues had formed at the Bolgatanga EC office, where the students pointed out that most of their mates could not be captured in the exercise.
The Supervisor at the Bolgatanga Municipalgen
EC Office registration centre, Mr George Awuni, indicated that those who were in the queue would be given the opportunity to be registered today if they were not able to go through the process.
From Ho, Mary Anane Amponsah writes that the leadership of the NDC in the Volta Region has called on the EC to extend the registration exercise in the region for 14 more days to allow all qualified persons to be registered.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic after an emergency review meeting of the registration exercise, the Volta Regional Chairman of the party, Mr Henry Ametefee, stated that the exercise in the region had suffered some major challenges.
He said the overflow of people at the various centres in the constituencies showed that a higher number of people would not be able to register by the deadline.
He said there had been major irregularities and setbacks since the process started, including machine breakdowns, shortage of registration materials, power outages and a slow process which led to many people who went to the centres on a daily basis not being registered.
The daily figures received from the centres, he said, confirmed the NDC’s stance that many people would not find their names in the register if there was no extension.
At the Volta Regional office of the EC in Ho, where the registration was ongoing, there were long queues.
From Sunyani, Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah and Biiya Mukusah Ali report that hundreds of people queued at the Sunyani Municipal office of the EC, hoping to be registered on the last day of the exercise.
However, the situation was better at the Sunyani West Office of the EC in Odumase where the number of prospective voters in the queue about 2 p.m. when the Daily Graphic visited was manageable.
Because of the long queue at the Sunyani Municipal office of the EC, some of the applicants moved to the Sunyani West Office but they were prevented from registering there.
A Senior Electoral Assistant at the Sunyani West District EC office, Mr Emmanuel Yeboah, said more than 3,200 people had registered.
The exercise ended smoothly at the Tema offices of the EC, reports Benjamin Xornam Glover when the Daily Graphic visited the premises of the EC at 5.30 p.m yesterday, the long queues had reduced drastically, while officals were preparing to wrap up.
The Tema Metropolitan Electoral Officer, Nana Oduro Numapau, indicated that although the registration exercise had been characterised by some incidents, many people were able to register.
He said as of last Saturday, the office, which hosted the Tema East, Tema West and Tema Central registration centres, had registered a little over 13,000 people.
A Communications Officer at the EC, Ms Sylvia Annor, told the Daily Graphic that all was not lost for people who could not register because the commission had an “in-built special mechanism to take care of them”.
She said those in the queues at the close of the exercise at 5 p.m. yesterday would be given special numbers so that they could return to register at the centres where they took the numbers.
Ms Annor said EC officials would remain at the registration centres, mainly at the district offices of the commission to register those with the numbers.
Source: Daily Graphic