Voter registration may contribute to poor election turnout — MFWA

By Jibril Abdul Mumuni

Accra, Aug 18, GNA – Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), says the ongoing voter registration exercise could lead to low voter turnout in the upcoming District Assembly elections.

Speaking on a radio programme over the weekend, Braimah questioned why the Electoral Commission (EC) limited the exercise to its district offices to the detriment of eligible registrants.

He said some potential registrants in conflict-prone areas may have difficulty accessing the EC’s district offices due to security concerns.

“Look at the people of Bawku, where we know that there are ongoing conflicts and that it is dangerous for people to go out. What is the electoral commission doing for the people in these conflict areas?

“When you look at the EC’s posture, it raises points about why we sometimes complain about the voter turnout in district-level elections because it appears that the district assemblies’ elections are subservient to the general elections,” he said.

The situation, Mr Braimah said, may make it difficult for some people to vote in the forthcoming district-level elections.

He asked the EC to revert to the old process of registering potential voters at the respective polling stations and electoral areas.

In response to Braimah’s assertions, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, Director of Electoral Services at the EC, stated that the present process of registration was implemented to protect the “sanctity” of the voter register.

He indicated that the approach was to protect the register from any form of abuse, including double and foreigner registrations.

Dr. Quaicoe stated that eligible registrants who were unable to register would be able to do so next year when the Commission would decentralize registrations to polling stations and electoral areas.

Mr. Kofi Bentil, Vice President of Imani Ghana, suggested that the Commission employ the National Identity Authority (NIA) database for future activities.

He said the NIA’s database, which was more credible, could solve some the challenges the Commission encounters during such processes.