The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has criticized the Electoral Commission over a scheduled voter registration exercise in the prisons ahead of the 2016 general election without notification to the political parties.
NPP in a letter dated August 21, 2016 and signed by the party’s Acting General Secretary, John Boadu to the EC, has observed that the Commission is commencing voter registration in prisons across the country per letters from some District offices.
The exercise is intended to get names of prisoners of voting age unto the electoral roll for the December 7 polls.
But the main opposition party is worried the process can be abused as it is taking place without the Commission notifying the political parties for them to effectively monitor the exercise as has been the practice.
“We would have wished that much as the C.I 91 grants this activity of the Commission in consultation with political parties, the parties would have been duly notified/consulted before any such decisions are taken,” NPP pointed out in a statement.
Consequently, the NPP has requested the country’s election management body to explain how the voter registration is being done in the prisons nationwide.
CONCERNS OVER ONGOING PROCESSES LEADING TO THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS
We wish to bring to the attention of the Commission some concerns for urgent redress as we prepare towards the 2016 General Election.
1. We have observed that the Commission is commencing voter registration in prisons across the country per letters emanating from some District offices. However, there has been no notification to political parties to inform them and have the opportunity to monitor this process as has been the practice.
2. We request to know what modalities are in place towards foreign registrations for this year’s election as well as particulars of the existing foreign registrations done earlier by the Commission.
3. We note a release from the Commission on challenges encountered with the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration on the 19h August exercise and the decision to extend the registration hours to 8pm on that day and an additional day extension to the 27th of August 2016.
We would have wished that much as the C.I 91 grants this activity of the Commission in consultation with political parties, the parties would have been duly notified/consulted before any such decisions are taken.
4. The procedures announced for proxy vote has to be reviewed. The Commission directs that a prospective proxy can go to the Commission and pick up forms for the applicant. This should not be the case because of the inherent abuse.
I refer to Regulation 25 (2) of C.I 94 which states that “The applicant shall complete a proxy form set out in Form Six of the Schedule”. What this means is that nobody can make or complete proxy forms on behalf of an applicant.
The Commission has also decided to do this exercise at all district offices and adds the headquarters of the Commission. One wonders why the EC headquarters must be part of this as it’s not even a registration center. We want the Commission to engage with the Parties on this exercise to ensure effective monitoring.
An early response to the concerns is anticipated. As a stakeholder, we would wish to receive formal correspondence from the commission on activities that we are required to play a part instead of through the media, so as to help in getting our members and the general public to participate fully.
As we approach the election, it is expected that the Commission would be more transparent and ensure inclusiveness of stakeholders in its activities.
General Secretary (Ag.)
Cc: All Political Parties