The National Identification Authority (NIA) will commence registration and issuance of Ghana Cards before the Electoral Commission begins its voters’ registration exercise later in June, according to Deputy Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, William Sabi.
This he says will ensure that as many Ghanaians as possible will get the card as a basis to enrol onto the voters’ register.
This is ahead of the expected change in law to make the Ghana Card and Passports the only valid forms of identification for registering onto the electoral roll.
This has sparked concerns that a significant number of Ghanaians will be disenfranchised because the NIA is yet to complete its registration exercise despite the EC announcing that it will begin the voter registration exercise sometime in June 2020.
There have been delays in the registration processes because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Minority caucus in Parliament has been among the critics pushing for the rejection of the EC’s move to make the Ghana Card and Passport the only forms of identification for registration onto the electoral roll.
But speaking on Citi TV’s Parliamentary magazine programme, The Chamber, Mr. Sabi said: “The NIA has also put in place strategies that will come out officially to also ensure that nobody is left out or nobody has any hitches just because he doesn’t have the [Ghana Card].”
He assured further that “there will be a mop-up in every other region in the country and we will start before the Electoral Commission starts.”
“At some places, it will be going alongside but we will start before the Electoral Commission,” Mr. Sabi added.
The EC has presented the Public Election (Amendment) regulation, 2020 (C.I. 126) to Parliament to amend C.I 91 in order to change the identification requirements for voter registration.
Aside from the Ghana Card or passport being acceptable documents for registering onto the voters’ register, persons who have already captured on the new voters’ register can guarantee for others to register.
Per the Constitutional Instrument that was first put before Parliament, “a person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide as evidence of identification one of the following: a passport, a national identification card, or one voter registration identification guarantee form as set out in Form one of the schedule that has been completed and signed by two registered voters.”
President Akufo-Addo has eased the restrictions on public gatherings and he urged the EC and the NIA to resume their registration processes with hygiene and safety protocols in mind.
He also noted that there had not been any restrictions on their operations in the first place although the NIA said it was awaiting clearance to resume registration.
“…Statutory bodies such as the Electoral Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education, and the National Identification Authority, whose activities were exempted from the outset from these restrictions, must conduct their activities in accordance with social distancing and the necessary hygiene and safety protocols,” he said.