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Ghana EC finally aborts plan to require national ID for upcoming voter registration

Categories Biometrics News  |  Elections  |  ID for All
Ghana EC finally aborts plan to require national ID for upcoming voter registration

The Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) will not go ahead with its plan to make the Ghana Card the only identity credential allowed for voter registration.

This decision was arrived at last week during an Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting held in Accra and presided over by EC Chairperson Jean Mensa, as reported by the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

This development puts an end to a lingering battle by the EC to push through a Constitutional Instrument (CI) which sought to introduce new rules to how potential voters would identify themselves during voter registration for the December 7 general elections.

The EC had been trying to replace an existing CI which allows the use of passports and a guarantor system for voter registration, arguing that the guarantor system was archaic and unable to help establish a credible and reliable voter registration database.

But the move met several roadblocks, with the main opposition party accusing the election management agency of using the reform as a political tool to favor the ruling party.

Some MPs had also opposed the decision in parliament and vowed to stand against it, saying making the Ghana Card the only identification document for voter registration would disenfranchise many potential voters. They had also criticized the move, citing the ordeal faced by many Ghanaians in obtaining the national digital ID card.

Ghana National Identification Authority says just under 17.8 million Ghanaians have registered for their Ghana Card, and just under 17.1 million have received them. The country’s population is estimated at close to 34 million.

GNA quotes some representatives of political parties who attended the meeting as saying that the EC also agreed to proposals to maintain the use of indelible ink used for manual fingerprinting as an alternative for biometric voter verification. Early this year, the opposition had raised concerns over a mooted plan by the EC to replace the manual fingerprinting with electronic biometric verification.

The representatives said other important decisions taken during the meeting included an agreement by the EC to extend the limited voter registration beyond its district offices, and the creation of 4,000 new voter registration centers.

The EC used the Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting to also unveil details of its electoral program, including the timeline for receiving candidatures for the parliamentary and presidential polls.

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