NDC MP fights EC’s move to make only Ghana Card, passport admissible for new voters’ registration
National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson Dafiamekpor, has said the Electoral Commission’s push to make the Ghana Card and passport the only acceptable identification for the new voters’ registration will be opposed.
“It’s not a good idea. And we are vehemently opposed to it. We think it infringes Article 42 of the constitution. We are opposed to it. And we are going to ask them to go back…” he said.
“And indeed, when they said passport, you know the primary source of identification to get a passport is a birth certificate. Why are they asking for passport and not the primary document birth certificate?” he quizzed.
The EC has submitted to Parliament amendments to the law guiding the conduct of elections that will make the Ghana Card and passports the only primary identification documents to register for the new voter’s ID card.
People who do not have any of the two documents would have to get two newly registered voters to guarantee for them before they can register.
The new legal authority, however, says no individual can guarantee for more than ten people.
The amendment, if approved by the house, will effectively mean other forms of national identification including the existing voter’s ID card, birth certificate and other national documents cannot be used in registering for the new voter ID card.
Despite widespread opposition and recent coronavirus scare that has forced the limiting of public gatherings, the Electoral Commission has insisted it is going ahead with plans to begin compiling a new voter’s register, although it has hinted that the April 18 date for the process may change.
The NDC MP said it will be wasteful for the Electoral Commission to insist old voter’s ID card cannot be used to register for the new ID card when huge investments have been made into the compilation of the old voter register.
“How can the Electoral Commission be this reckless?” the South Dayi MP quizzed.
He alleges the Electoral Commission is taking instructions from the executive arm of government which is forcing them to sideline the existing voter ID cards and rather rely on the national identification card and passport to register for the new card.
Meanwhile, Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu laid the document to allow for amendments to the legal authority, the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendments) 2020, before the House on behalf of the electoral commission.
Jean Mensah who is the Electoral Commission signed it.
In the new amendment being sought, the EC is requesting that the following provisions be included in the existing legal authority.
“A person who applies for registration as a voter shall; provide as evidence of identification one of the following:
a) A passport
b) A national identification card
c) 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.”
Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin who was presiding over sitting referred the document to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee.
Per the rules, Parliament cannot amend a Constitutional Instrument brought to it for approval. It automatically becomes law after 21 sitting days unless the House orders its withdrawal.
If any changes have to be made to the constitutional instrument, the entire document would have to be sent back to the institution that brought it for a revised version to be laid.
It remains to be seen how the minority will push through its rejection of the Electoral Commission’s document.
The Subsidiary Legislation Committee which the document was referred to is only one of two committees in the house which has a minority MP as chairman.
Former Deputy Attorney General Dr Domnic Ayine chairs the committee.